Leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband today demanded that "controversial authors" be kept away from the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF).
The Deoband's demand comes close on the heels of some Muslim groups warning JLF organisers against inviting authors who have "hurt" religious sentiments of the community, including Jeet Thayil, Ruchir Joshi, Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar, who had read out passages from Salman Rushdie's banned 'Satanic Verses' at the event last year.
"India is a secular country and every citizen has a right to raise his voice under the ambit of law. However, some controversial authors invited to the JLF have hurt religious sentiments in the past," Vice-Chancellor Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani said. "The Darul Uloom Deoband has asked the government to stop such authors from visiting the country."
The Bhartiya Janata Party's youth wing had also warned against presence of any Pakistani writer at the event.
"Pakistani army killed our soldiers, so no Pakistani should be allowed to come here," BJP leader Rajesh Tikkiwal had said.
Sanjay Roy, Producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival had said, "Everyone has right to express his feeling but we (the event) are not going to be hijacked."
The JLF, first held in 2005, is one of the most prestigious annual gathering of literati and book lovers. The festival is set to begin on Thursday.