Pune University Professor, and 5 Students Arrested Over Controversial Ramleela Play

A heated performance based on the epic “Ramayan” led to the arrest of five Pune University students and a professor on Saturday. The play allegedly included offensive images and dialogue. Harshvardhan Harpude of the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) filed a complaint, resulting in the arrests.

The case has been registered under section 295 (A) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, as confirmed by police inspector Ankush Chintaman. The play, staged by students of the Pune Lalit Kala Kendra, a part of Pune University, reportedly featured a male actor portraying Sita smoking cigarettes and using offensive language.

According to the First Information Report (FIR), when ABVP members raised objections and attempted to stop the performance, the actors responded by heckling and assaulting them. The scuffle between ABVP functionaries and students escalated during the play, leading to the subsequent police involvement.

Dr. Pravin Bhole, the head of the Lalit Kala Kendra department, along with students Bhavesh Patil, Jay Pednekar, Prathamesh Sawant, Rishikesh Dalvi, and Yash Chikhle, have been arrested in connection with the incident. The controversy has sparked discussions surrounding the boundaries of artistic expression and religious sentiments.

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