Curtains down on Jaipur Literature Festival; organisers vow to keep going

Festival

Rocked by controversies, but not of the scale touched last year, the Jaipur Literature Festival today came to a close with the organisers giving an undertaking not to leave the city in the wake of a case registered on Ashish Nandy's comments on corruption.

Additional Commissioner of Police Biju George Joseph said the organisers were asked to remain in the city as a probe is going on against sociologist Nandy for his comments that people belonging to OBCs, SCs and STs were the most corrupt, remarks over which he has expressed regrets.

Festival Producer Roy said, "I have signed the papers on behalf of the JLF team to comply with the orders." An FIR was lodged against Nandy and Roy last Saturday by Rajpal Meena, Chairperson of the SC/ST Rajasthan Manch, after Nandy stoked a controversy with his comments.

However, Nandy got some backing from various quarters. Interestingly Dalit author Kancha Ilaiah, said it was "a bad statement with good intentions".

"Prof Ashis Nandy made a bad statement with good intentions, however, as far as I know he was never against reservation. The controversy should end here," Ilaiah said in a statement here.

He said he would fight Nandy if he did not speak against corruption by the upper castes. Directors of the event Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple appealed to the people to defend the freedom of speech and expression while vowing to keep the festival going.

"I really hope people will rally around to defend the festival," said Dalrymple. "We will fight to keep it open. We will fight to make sure this forum remains...we are terribly proud of what we have done," he added.

The five-day festival had run into controversies last year first over the visit of author Salman Rushdie, which eventually did not materialize and then due to reading from his banned book "Satanic Verses" by few authors, including Jeet Thayil.

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