Fear of controversy forces withdrawal of play on Godse on Gandhi Jayanti

KMahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary is celebrated in India as a national occasion. All government, educational and financial institutions are closed as the nation celebrates the Father of the Nation (Reuters)

Goa's Ravindra Bhavan has decided not to stage the controversial play on Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, after freedom fighters and others expressed strong opposition to it.

Ravindra Bhavan, a Margao-based government-funded institution, had announced hosting the controversial play 'Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy' by writer Pradeep Dalvi on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, evoking strong protests from the Gandhian freedom fighters and like-minded people.

"We have decided to withdraw the play. It will not happen now," Ravindra Bhavan chairman Damodar Naik told PTI today, hours after several freedom fighters announced their plan to protest outside the venue of the play.

"It was not my initiative. It was to be staged by a group from Bicholim (a village in Goa). But, now we have decided that the play stands withdrawn as I don't want to be a part of any controversy unnecessarily," Naik said.

The controversial drama explores the assassination of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and the trial of Nathuram Godse from the latter's point of view.

The announcement of the play had sparked strong reactions in the state.

Gandhian freedom fighter Gurunath Kelekar said earlier in the day that "hosting of that drama on Gandhi Jayanti is highly condemnable. We would protest outside the venue".

Independent legislator Vijay Sardesai, in whose constituency the drama was to be staged, had warned that there would be disruptions if Ravindra Bhavan went ahead with it.

"While government will observe Gandhi Jayanti by garlanding his statue, the same government's Ravindra Bhavan will honour his killers," the legislator had said.

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