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Lifting of Christ Play Ban Kicks up Furore

April09/ 2015

KOTTAYAM,KERALA, APRIL 9: The Supreme Court’s recent order lifting the then Kottayam district administration’s 25-year-old ban on world famous rock opera ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, has led to a verbal spat between BJP national executive member Alphons Kannanthanam and Mary Roy, educator and women’s rights activist.

It was Alphons, who was the then District Collector, had banned the play exercising  his powers as the District Magistrate on October 15, 1990, while children of Mary Roy’s Corpus Christy school (later changed to Pallikkoodam), here was getting to ready to enact the play.

Speaking to ‘Express’ at her residence-cum-school premises ‘Pallikkoodam’, Mary Roy said, it was the personal vendetta of Alphons which had led to the last-minute ban.

“Over 100 students, who were dressed up after having make-ups, were waiting for the curtains to go up. Suddenly the order, banning the enactment of the play in the very evening came around 5 pm,” Mary recounted.

She added that there was nothing against Christianity in the play and was absolutely true to the book. “However, Alphons had some personal issues with my school and he cleverly issued the order just a few minutes before the enactment of the play giving me no time to go for any legal stay,” she said.

Meanwhile, Alphons denied the allegation that he had personal motives behind the order.  “Whatever, I wanted to say was explained in detail in my order, which is very lengthy too. To attribute any personal motives beyond what is written in the order shows that Mrs Roy would be insane,” he said.

Mary Roy and Fr Abraham Vellamthadam, retired college professor who is associated with school, took up the issue in the court. When Mary dropped the case a year later, Fr Abraham pursued it in higher courts and secured a favourable order on April 7, 2015, around 25 years after the ban.