Bengaluru-based Jagriti Theatre on Saturday postponed the staging of a play titled Shiva after men from two religious factions protested against it. The theatre said the play addresses discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and/or intersex community in the aftermath of the Supreme Court verdict decriminalising homosexuality. Four shows of Shiva were scheduled for October 13 and 14.

“On the morning of October 13, a group of men claiming to be from a right-wing religious outfit arrived at the theatre and declared that they found the play offensive,” the performing arts organisation said in a post on Facebook. “When asked if any of them had seen the play, they said they had not but that they found the name offensive. They threatened to create trouble if we went ahead with the shows as scheduled.”

The theatre administration then approached the Whitefield Police Station seeking help, Jagriti Theatre said, adding that the police showed them a complaint filed by a religious group against the play directed by Dayasindhu Sakrepatna. “We choose to withhold the name so as to not give them unnecessary publicity,” the theatre said. The religious group’s complaint purportedly said that they were worshippers of Shiva and that the play was “objectifying to sex and gender-related activities”.

Soon after, the police agreed to deploy three personnel at the venue to prevent any trouble, but another religious group soon expressed their opposition, the theatre said. “Subsequently, we have had to postpone the shows due to an inability at this time for the theatre to get adequate protection.”

The centre also urged Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and his deputy G Parameshwara, who also holds the Home department, to take note of their statement and ensure that the freedom of expression is “not held to ransom” in the state.