Did Bengali play on Dec 13 revive interest in Geelani

The Times of India, 10-Feb-05
Mohua Chatterjee

Delhi, February 9, 2005

a scene of 16 Millimeter.
a scene of 16 Millimeter.

Did Bengali play on Dec 13 revive interest in Geelani?

Mohua Chatterjee

A strange connection has emerged between the attack on S.A.R. Geelani on Tuesday night and a Bengali play staged in the capital exactly a month ago on January 8.

While the play does not have a character named Geelani, it takes its name '16 mm' from the mysterious code word used by terrorists killed in the Parliament attack on December 13, 2001, for which Geelani also went on trial as a co-accused. He was convicted by the lower court, but let off by Delhi High Court for want of evidence. CBI reportedly ignored this issue during its investigations. The play is critical of the investigating authorities, including CBI and Delhi Police. Is it possible that the play may have revived the focus on Geelani after four years of silence on the case?
That is what Sangram Guha, Kolkata-based director of the play would like to believe. "The play does not talk about whether Geelani was guilty or not in the case, but simply focuses on some lacunae in the investigation process, which could be deliberate," says Guha. Admitting that reports of the attack on Geelani on Tuesday morning made, him a little wary about the authorities getting at him for bringing out unpublicised details of the case.

However, West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was among the audience for the opening performance of the play that has run about 60 shows already in Bengal starting from July 5, 2004, assured Guha on Wednesday morning over phone that there was no need to be worried.

In fact, Bhattacharjee, a writer himself whose plays have run to full houses in Kolkata and elsewhere, told the director that he should incorporate the attack on Geelani and the incidents that follow, into the production for the next round of performances, Guha said.

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