When the Chennai Police stopped a song about Modi in the second line

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When the Chennai Police stopped a song about Modi in the second line

"I won't blame the police but I will blame the political climate of the country that is so vitiated that there is a resistance even to a funny song," said an organiser of the festival where the song "Modi Mastan" was stopped.

When the music band Casteless Collective were singing only the second line of "Modi Mastan" at a Chennai beach, the group's producer says, they were asked to stop.

"We were not allowed to complete the song. How else will anyone know where the song is headed?" asked Tenma, the music producer.

"Modi Mastan" was song number 8 in in Casteless Collective's set of nine -- on a variety of social issues -- performed on Sunday during a festival at the Elliot's Beach in Besant Nagar.

The band said the decision to stop the song was unfortunate and unfair.

When they began the song, the police asked festival organisers to stop it as they deemed it inappropriate in a public forum.

Sources in the police department said permission had been sought for a cultural programme without any political affiliation or communal discrimination.

"The audiences were enjoying our songs. 'Modi Mastan' is a song about rituals in politics," Tenma said.

'Won't blame police, but vitiated climate'

Nithayanand Jayaraman, one of the festival's organisers, thinks the clampdown is a reflection of the society we live in.

"I won't blame the police but I will blame the political climate of the country that is so vitiated that there is a resistance even to a funny song," he said.

"When you sing a song about Modi who has looted the country, the list is long. It can be Nirav Modi or Lalit Modi," Nithayanand Jayaraman said.

Activists across Tamil Nadu expressed dismay at the turn of events. Social activist Akila condemned the police action and said political satire was an essential aspect of democracy. "It is disturbing to see artists threatened by police using their powers", she said.

Human rights activist Sudha Ramalingam said there were consistent efforts to muzzle the voice of the people on crucial issues.

And Casteless Collective? They have vowed to continue making music on social equality.