London theatre in Sikh row over holy day play

London, UK - A London theatre risks a showdown with Sikhs after it refused to cancel a provocative work on the night of their most holy festival.

An earlier play by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, called Behzti, led to death threats and mass protests by Sikhs in Birmingham over its depiction of rape and immoral behaviour in a temple.

Now they are angry that Soho Theatre will stage her latest play Behud, about the protests in 2004, coinciding with the festival of Vaisakhi on 13 and 14 April.

The move has raised fears of a repeat of the riots outside Birmingham Rep, which forced the closure of Behzti.

Pritpal Singh Makan, head of the Sikh Association, said: “It is hard to believe Bhatti has not realised it is Vaisakhi. A reaction is inevitable.”

Harmander Singh, the head of Sikhs in England, called the launch “provocative”.

Show spokeswoman Cliona Roberts said its London opening on the day of Vaisakhi was an unintended coincidence.