Nagpur: Amid the opposition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi being depicted with charkha on Khadi Gramodyog campaign, Congress in Nagpur got another issue to raise and protest. Both Congress and NCP members along with supporters of Sambhaji Brigade on Sunday protested the staging of the play ‘He Ram Nathuram’ at Deshpande hall here. The play is based on life of Nathuram Godse who had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.
Dozens of Congress and NCP protested the staging of the play while members of Shiv Sena, who were supporting the performance, remained inside the hall to thwart any attempt by protesters to disrupt the performance.
Under the guidance of zone II DCP R Kalasagar, Sitabuldi police, along with the help of riot control police (RCP) detained the leaders and their workers when they started burning the placards at the venue. Cong leaders who were among those detailed included their leader in NMC Vikas Thakre, Abhijit Wanjari, and Atul Londhe.
Meanwhile, the audience too faced problems getting inside the Deshpande hall premises. Several protesters had also bought tickets in order to disrupt the play. Cops were trying to verify the identity of patrons before allowing them entry. Till about 10.30pm though, the performance could not begin. Police in civil dress were present inside the theatre too.
NCP Salil Deshmukh, who led the NCP workers and was also among those detained. He said, “The ruling BJP wants to defame Gandhiji and glorify Godse.” He said it was not a political stunt and had nothing to do with forthcoming civic elections.
Congress supporters, who were present in large numbers, were becoming more aggressive as police displayed a signboard for them saying that the protests were illegal and they should go back. As protesters, holding the anti-slogans, tried to get inside the premises by jumping upon the barricades, police restrained them with sticks.
“We will go and see the play and if we find anything derogatory about Gandhiji, we would not let the play continue,” said Congress vice-president of Nagpur district, Ashraf Khan. Godse was a killer and he doesn’t deserve to be glorified like this, he added.
Some youths who had come to watch the play instead called Godse a “freedom fighter” and said he too had his side to explain. “With the help of such plays, citizens would get to know his real character,” said one.
Shiv Sena leader Sharad Ponkshe, who is playing the lead role in the play, said, “We are not showing anything negative about Gandhiji but just giving the side of Godse who too had done a lot to serve the nation.” He said the play was about showing positive side of Godse to people as Congress had always suppressed that aspect.