Assam activist arrested: An activist was arrested in Assam for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a street play, in which he, dressed as Lord Shiva, was seen arguing with a woman, who enacted the role of Goddess Parvati, when their motorcycle ran out of petrol, a police officer said on Sunday. Disapproving of the police arrest, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said enacting a street play over current issues is not blasphemous and appropriate instructions have been issued to the district police to release him.
The CM, taking to Twitter, said, "Nukad Natak on current issues is not blasphemous. Dressing up is not a crime unless offensive material is said. Appropriate order has been issued to @nagaonpolice." Sarma made the statement on the microblogging platform after advocate-author Navroop Singh drew his attention to the matter through a series of tweets and appealed to him to release the activist. "Nukad Natak on current issues is not blasphemous. Dressing up is not a crime unless offensive material is said. We need to stop this! Release that man @himantabiswa!!! "Hey bhagwan… We need to urgently rescue our dharma from these morons... Did he do something offensive in Nukkad Natak!?" Singh said while reacting to media reports over the arrest of Bora.
Nagaon Superintendent of Police Leena Doley said the activist, Birinchi Bora, was arrested on Saturday under bailable sections on two complaints by Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. "We had arrested him for hurting religious sentiments, showing disrespect towards women, attempting to create disharmony among communities and also under Motor Vehicles Act for not wearing shoes and helmet during the play on the road. "As the sections were bailable, he was released on Sunday morning," she told PTI.
The woman, who played the character of Goddess Parvati, could not be traced thus far, and another person associated with the play, Dulal Bora, has been asked to appear at Nagaon Police Station, Doley said. On Saturday afternoon, raising the issues of price rise as well as unemployment, Bora and his associates performed a street play on the road near Nowgong College Clock Tower Point. In the play, Bora as Lord Shiva slammed the government for the unabated price hike of almost all goods, including fuels, LPG cylinders and other essential items.
He also highlighted the unemployment woes in the country, reminding people of the unfulfilled job promises made to people. The district units of Bajrang Dal and VHP, the wake of the symbolic protest, separately lodged two FIRs at Nagaon Police Station, alleging that the play categorically “hurt the dignity of the Hindu gods”. The police immediately picked up Bora, a former general secretary of Nowgong College Students Union, and later arrested him. His arrest was widely condemned by many on social media.