Govt. of Rajasthan must ensure artists' voices are not silenced.

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Souradeep Roy
Souradeep Roy signed this petition

We are shocked and saddened that the second performance of Abhishek Majumdar's play about Kashmir, Eidgah ke Jinnat, has not been allowed to go ahead at the Navras Festival of the Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur today. This production opened here yesterday - Monday, the 18th of February 2019 - and was followed by a discussion with the writer-director. In this interaction, Abhishek conducted himself with the utmost calm and dignity, insisting that dialogue is the only way forward. The true test of any democracy is in enabling difficult conversations about issues on which there is difference of opinion among various people. 

Most of those who protested against the play today have not seen it, nor were they present at the interaction with the writer-director. Their reaction is based on a misleading report in a local daily. As a result, the second performance of the play was cancelled.

Today, more than ever before there is need for all to consider the Kashmir issue with compassion and sensitivity, not aggression and jingoism. Abhishek's play does exactly that. This play has been performed several times across the country in many places over the past few years and received critical acclaim and heartfelt applause from the audience. Neither Abhishek, nor any of the signatories to this statement, support or condone acts of terrorism and violence. We are united in feeling the grief of the families who lost their dear ones in the recent attack in Pulwama, as indeed with all those innocent victims of the violence that has racked Kashmir for decades. We also feel pained at the reports of threats and attacks that innocent Kashmiris have faced in other parts of the country over the past few days.

We call upon the government of Rajasthan to ensure the safety and security of all those involved in the play, as well as the staff and premises of Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur. We hope that the local police will apprehend the miscreants who reportedly indulged in aggressive sloganeering at Jawahar Kala Kendra and threatened Abhishek and others. We stand in solidarity with the creators of the play, as well as with Jawahar Kala Kendra. We fervently hope that theatre lovers in Jaipur will get the opportunity to watch, discuss and debate this play. That is the democratic way. 

Undersigned:

Sudhanva Deshpande

Sunil Shanbag

Sameera Iyengar

Sanjna Kapoor

Neel Chaudhuri

Darshana Dave

Menaka Rodriguez

Ashish Mehta

Arundhati Ghosh