Ashis Nandy apologises for remarks against Dalits
The otherwise peaceful proceedings at the festival met with a rude interlude when an FIR was filed against Ashis Nandy for his remarks on Dalits at one of the sessions where he used words like "corrupt" to brand people from backward classes including the OBC, SC and SC communities
A hastily called press conference on Saturday at the media centre by the organisers, where Nandy was in attendance, clarified the situation, and urged the media to not blow things out of proportion or context.
Tarun Tejpal and Urvashi Butalia, spoke in support of Nandy, who was also present on the dais, and reminded those present that at a literary festival, an open mind is important. Organiser, Sanjoy Roy added that the complainants met with Nandy and were satisfied with the clarifications on the statement and that it had been taken out of context.
But, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati asked the Rajasthan government to take strong action against him. “Our party demands that the Rajasthan government should register a case and he should be sent to jail,” she said.
She said the comments reflected a casteist mindset and were made as part of a thought-out conspiracy to defame people from these communities. Mayawati said the organisers should also immediately ‘throw out’ Nandy from the festival for his ‘casteist remarks’. Republican Party of India (RPI) chief Ramdas Athawale demanded that Nandy take back his comments.
Police said a FIR was lodged against Nandy under the section 3(1) of the SC/ST Act, which was non-bailable and invited a 10-year jail term. The case was filed by a person identified as Ram Ratan Meena. Festival director Sanjoy K Roy was also booked, police said.
With inputs from Agencies