A Bengali-language play was cancelled by a West Bengal government-run auditorium in Kolkata on the weekend after social media outrage over its title hurting Hindu sentiments. The writer-director of the play, Probir Mondal claims he has received threats after his phone number was spread on social media websites. The play, titled Hindu Chor or Hindu Thief focuses on the difficulties faced by the Hindu minority community of Bangladesh.

The play attracted criticism after a photograph of its poster was uploaded onto various social media sites with anger over directed against its title, Hindu Chor. On June 17, a man named Sumantra Maiti complained to the Kolkata Police that the play had offended his sentiments.

Online outrage over the play

On June 18, Kolkata Police responded to the outrage by removing the poster and claimed to initiate legal action against the playwright. On Saturday, the playwright, Probir Mondal was informed by the West Bengal government that Shishir Mancha, the auditorium the play was supposed to run in, has cancelled his booking for June 25.

Highlights minority situation in Bangladesh

Mondal refuted the charge that his play is offensive towards Hindus, arguing instead that, on the contrary, it is about the plight of the Hindu minority of Bangladesh.

“I have visited Bangladesh with my mother who has her native village there and have seen how Hindus live,” said Mondal. “Every Hindus has family here [in India] and wants to come here”

Mondal says his trip to Bangladesh gave him the idea for the play which is a dark comedy about Giren, a thief in a Bangladeshi village who is often called “Hindu chor” by locals, hence the title. During the course of the play, Giren is pressured to leave his village by miscreants who want to take over his house.

“My phone number was spread online and I have received threats,” said Mondal, who works in the Bengali-language television industry of Kolkata. Mondal has filed a complaint with the Kolkata police about threats to his life.

Mondal's phone number being spread online with calls for abuse.