Reaction: 'It Is Shocking and Sad That Mob Violence Has Curbed Freedom of Speech'

Article excerpt

'Bhatti has tried to bring down the barriers between the Sikh community and British non-Sikhs.

'I have read Bezhti and I didn't see it at all as an attack on the Sikh community or religion. I interpreted it as a portrayal of women in a maledominated society.

'I have spoken to Bhatti via an intermediary and she is devastated that this has happened. She has even received death threats. Not surprisingly she wonders how she can continue as a writer.

'We are talking about a very serious playwright. She is observant, compassionate, witty and has a great sense of theatre. She is a great writer. Obviously we hope the same thing won't happen in Manchester, but we will run the play no matter what.

'It is shocking and sad for the nation that mob violence has curbed freedom of speech.'

Braham Murray, artistic director at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, which commissioned a work by Bhatti to be performed in 2005 or 2006'Art always offends someone, but that doesn't mean it incites hatred of people.

'There's nobody suggesting that this play would incite hatred of the Sikh community. …