EDITORIAL | Leone show: keep vigilantes in check

Kannada chauvinist groups are known to be planning to disrupt Bollywood actor Sunny Leone’s performance in Bengaluru on November 3. They are reported to have purchased over 230 tickets for the show so that their activists can enter the venue to create a ruckus there. Fringe groups like the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike have opposed Leone’s performance in the city in the past as well. Her show on New Year’s Eve had to be cancelled on account of threats from these groups. They had threatened to unleash violence if Leone, a former porn star, performed in Bengaluru or even entered the city. The KRV had said then that Leone’s presence and performance would be an assault on Kannada culture. Now, they have changed their tune. They are saying that they do not have a problem with her dancing, even to Kannada songs. Indeed, they insist that in Bengaluru, she must dance only to Kannada songs. Their quarrel with her now is that she is playing the role of Veeramadevi in a multi-lingual film. An actor in pornographic films, they argue, cannot play the role of an important historical figure in Karnataka’s history. They have been burning posters of the film at their protests. Such protests can be expected to grow in intensity as the date of the event nears and will likely peak at the venue during the performance.

The demands being put forward by KRV and other chauvinist groups are rather absurd and could have been dismissed had they not been backed by violence and threats to disrupt the event. Violence at the event could injure performers and members of the audience. It is important therefore that the Bengaluru Police takes steps to prevent these activists from carrying out their threats. Bengaluru must not buckle under pressure from the KRV. 

KRV and other chauvinistic groups are going too far. Leone’s upcoming performance is in a private hotel. What happens inside a private building is not the business of the KRV. Its activists cannot bar anyone from entering the city, they cannot be allowed to become vigilantes. Who appointed them as guardians of our culture and public morals? No individual or group has the right to take the law into their hands in the name of protecting our culture. If Leone violates the law of the land in any way, it is the police who should act, and not self-appointed guardians of our culture. If Leone’s lifestyle or career choices irk KRV activists, they should avoid watching or attending her performances. Its bullying in the name of defending Kannada culture must stop now.

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EDITORIAL | Leone show: keep vigilantes in check

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