The Chennai police on Saturday stopped Evam theatre group from staging its internationally acclaimed play 'Ali J' after Hindu extremist groups objected to it.

Over the last two months, these extremist groups have also halted stagings of the same production in Mumbai and protested against it in Bangalore.

The police advised Evam to cancel the shows scheduled for Sunday evening at the Alliance Francaise, Chennai, with "a view to maintain law and order and public peace" after the Hindu Munnani and the Hindu Janajagriti Samiti submitted a petition opposing it.

On its website, the  Hindu Janajagriti Samit, which describes itself as an organisation working towards "Awakening and Education of Righteousness (Hinduism)", claims that 'Ali J' is an "anti-national" production "which glorifies Mohammad Ali Jinnah responsible for partition of India and creation of Pakistan".

The director of Evam, Sunil Vishnu K, said that the objections had not basis. He said the solo act, written by Shekinah Jacob, actually projects a message of secularism and Hindu-Muslim unity.

The play made its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year.

On its website, Evam describes 'Ali J' as a political thriller. The synopsis on its site says, "Ali is going to die. Blood on his hands. An obstinate passion. Twenty-four hours to live. One final audience. This is the story of Ali J – a stubborn lover, a dreamer – beyond what society allows him. His Islam is fleeting. His love is Bollywood-like. Why would you care? After all, he is Muslim."

Evam director Sunil dismissed the idea that the play would disrupt law and order. He said that before 'Ali J' was prevented from being staged at Mumbai's Kala Ghoda festival in February, it had been performed in the city in November at the National Centre for the Performing Arts.

Though Hindu extremists had objected to the play being performed at the Rangashankara theatre in Bangalore in January, the managers of the venue stepped in to support Evam and obtained police protection. Protestors who arrived at the venue were turned away firmly.

"There was no violence after either performance in Mumbai or Bangalore, so why should Chennai be any different?" asked Sunil.

He added , "It's no longer a conversation about our play. Tomorrow, they could shut down any play they don't like."

Here's the trailer of 'Ali J'.