Pune, Jan 23 (PTI) Excerpts from various plays written by noted Marahi playwright late Ram Ganesh Gadkari were read out outside Sambhaji Garden here, where his bust was uprooted from its pedestal by four youths early this month, to mark his 98th death anniversary. Also Read - Face Mask No More Mandatory While Travelling With Family in Private Vehicles in Pune

The event, attended by personalities from fields of arts and theatre, was initially supposed to held inside the garden, but was shifted outside as the civic body cancelled the permission owing to the threat by Sambhaji Brigade, believed to be responsible for the January 3 vandalism. Also Read - Pune Unlock 3.0 News: Cabs Allowed With 3 Passengers Apart From Driver, Malls to Open From August 5

“We on a regular basis arrange such reading sessions in the city commemorating the eminent authors and playwrights in the city. Today’s event was actually supposed to take place inside the garden where Gadkari’s bust had existed,” Kothrud BJP MLA Medha Kulkarni said. Also Read - Pune Municipal Corporation to Repair & Restore River Ambil Odha For Estimated Rs 300 Crore: Report

She said they had taken necessary permissions from the Pune Municipal Corporation as well as police.

“However, after Sambhaji Brigade workers threatened to disrupt the programme, PMC’s Garden department cancelled the permission on Sunday, prompting us to hold the event on the footpath outside the garden,” the legislator said.

Condemning the objection by the pro-Maratha outfit, Kulkarni said they organise several sessions every year to commemorate authors and playwrights in the city.

People from fields of cinema, including Marathi actors Yogesh Soman and Pravin Tarde, poet Pradeep Niphadkar, literary critique Vibhavari Deshpande and members from Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad were among those who assembled on footpath outside the garden to read the excerpts.

“A clip of Acharya Atre’s speech, which he had made while inaugurating Gadakari’s bust in the garden in 1962, was also played today,” said Kulkarni.

Police personnel were deployed outside the garden to avoid any untoward incident.

Gadkari’s bust was vandalised in the wee hours on January 3 by the activists of Sambhaji Brigade which alleged that Chhatrapati Shivaji’s son Sambhaji was depicted in a poor light in one of Gadkari’s plays, “Rajsanyas”. Ironically, the play was one of the unfinished plays by the litterateur.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.