Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui forced out of Ramleela program

09 Oct 2016 | By Supriya Kaur

Shiv Sena forced renowned actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui to opt out of the Ramleela program that he was acting in.

Objections were raised by the Shiv Sena and other activists as they were displeased with the participation of Siddiqui, a Muslim, in a program that is customarily enacted during the Hindu festival of Dusshera.

The incident occurred in Siddiqui's native village Budhana in Uttar Pradesh.

In context: Ramleela event faces Shiv Sena's ire

Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Ramleela

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, critically-acclaimed actor has acted in over 50 movies since 1999. He was keen to play 'Maarich', the demon who wishes to die at the hands of Lord Ram. It was his "childhood dream" to perform in the Ramleela program held in his native-village.

What happened?The Ramleela controversy

Nawazuddin Siddiqui was scheduled to perform in a Ramleela program in his native village in UP.

Shortly before his performance, activists of the Shiv Sena, a right-wing political party stormed the sets and halted rehearsals.

Shiv Sena district leader said, "We will not allow this. For over 50 years, no Muslim has been a part of the production. Why should this be allowed now?"

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09 Oct 2016Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui forced out of Ramleela program

DetailsWhat transpired after?

Siddiqui left the venue and cited "technical issues" and also said it was important to "maintain peace in the village".

The Ramleela program was eventually cancelled as local police asked organizers to be responsible if any ruckus erupted due to Siddiqui's presence in the show.

Siddiqui's cameo in the Ramleela program had led many to travel from afar and hundreds were left disappointed.

Nawazuddin's statement

Upon cancellation of the Ramleela program, Nawazuddin Siddiqui said, "My childhood dream could not come true, but will definitely be a part of Ramleela next year. Check the rehearsals."

What happened?Authorities take note

UP Chief Minister was outraged with the treatment meted out to Siddiqui and said, "Artistes have no religion. We must avoid elements that are trying to take the discourse in a different direction."

The concerned Shiv Sena leader and 19 other activists were arrested and booked under charges of "promoting enmity between different groups" and for doing acts "prejudicial to maintenance of harmony."