Controversy over ‘religious symbols’ at laser show in Assam’s Rang Ghar
Controversy erupted in Assam after “religious symbols” were seen in laser show projections at the Ahom era amphitheatre Rang Ghar in Sivasagar district.
The district administration, however, claimed it was a “misunderstanding” caused over some clips during a trial run and the final cut was approved after consultation with different stakeholders.
The Rang Ghar is among 13 iconic monuments across the country where the Ministry of Culture has planned state-of-the-art projection mapping shows to mark the 100th episode of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on Sunday.
The shows will showcase the historic, architectural importance and the distinctiveness of the region, highlighting the diversity of India as a country, on the lines of diverse topics and themes addressed by the PM in his broadcast, a government official had said.
As the laser show planned at Rang Ghar was tested on Friday night, the use of some purported religious symbols drew sharp reactions from different political parties and organisations.
Leader of Opposition in state assembly, Debabrata Saikia, said the amphitheatre is a pride of the Assamese community
and has been a performance arena showcasing the state’s culture.
“No party should be allowed to use it for political benefit or display its own symbols,” the Congress leader added.
Sivasagar MLA and Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi said he has written to the chief minister, top ASI officials and the deputy commissioner (DC) regarding the matter.
He claimed a meeting was held at the DC’s intervention with the ASI officials, and the controversial parts have been cut off from the final show.
“The Rang Ghar can be used for portraying the rich history of our state, without any communal colour,” Gogoi asserted.
Assam Jatiya Parishad president Lurinjyoti Gogoi also objected to the use of “religious symbols” and said, “Rang Ghar has its own colour, it symbolises Assam and its unity. We will not tolerate the use of any religious symbols for it.”
The Raijor Dal, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and Tai Ahom Yuba Parishad staged protests in front of the historic monument, demanding deletion of the controversial parts.
A top district official maintained that the controversy arose from a “misunderstanding” and all matters have been sorted out.
“The private party that will run the show had done a dry run of the proposed laser show last night. Later, some parties and organisations objected to certain clips. Those have been removed from the final show that has been approved,” he said.
“Light and sound shows are organised at the Rang Ghar on different occasions and there has never been an issue,” the official maintained.