Attack on theatre workers at Shilpakala
THE mindless assault on theatre workers at the Shilpakala Academy on Wednesday is an appalling example of a lapse in security at such an important cultural centre. The ugly incident occurred during a play staged by students of Dhaka University's Theatre and Performance Studies Department. It was part of the ongoing International Theatre Festival organised by the International Theatre Institute and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Some hooligans decided to pick up a fight over a stage prop kept in the corridor. They insisted on wanting to open it to see what was inside. When the theatre workers objected the hooligans picked up a fight. They called their friends and soon others came with sticks to beat up the theatre workers or whoever was in the way. There were theatre goers and also members of a Chinese troupe who have been performing at the festival at the venue when this unsavoury incident took place.
Although the police eventually came and caught some of the miscreants, the entire incident is shameful. Theatre enthusiasts wait eagerly for such festivals -- a reprieve from the present pall of continuous political violence. Now even this little oasis of peace has been attacked by ruffians.
Participants of this festival include troupes from other countries. This in itself warrants a beefing up of security around the Academy to keep out unruly elements. Under the present circumstances when violent attacks on people are taking place at random points in the city, the sanctity and security of the Shilpakala Academy should be a priority for the law enforcement authorities.