Artistes protest attack

Theatre artistes on Thursday held a protest march against the conduct of some Trinamul leaders of Cooch Behar who had forced a veteran director to apologise for using the words "ma", "maati" and "Didi" in a play three days ago.

The director, 71-year old Benu Chattopadhyay of New Theatre Group, was among the directors and actors who walked 2.4km from College Square to Rani Rashmoni Avenue.

"My group members are shattered and we have cancelled our next show in the city, scheduled for February 7. But we will definitely stage the play (Setubandhan) again in February and the same words will be there," Chattopadhyay said on Thursday.

The Trinamul leaders who had forced Chattopadhyay to apologise before TV cameras after a performance in Dinhata alleged that the words "Ma Maati Manush" and "Didi" were used in a context that suggested corruption was being condoned. The director said the play had the words "ma" and "maati" but not "Ma Maati and Manush" which Trinamul uses as its slogan.

Among the actors and directors who joined the march, organised by Sanskriti Sansad, were Usha Ganguli, Ashok Mukhopadhyay, Chandan Sen and Badshah Moitra.

"There is a general atmosphere of fear, which is not good. We are not allowed to express our feelings," said Usha Ganguli.

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