Dalit author Ilaiah backs Nandy

The last day of the Jaipur Literature Festival remained rife with controversy as the police asked the organisers not to leave the city before all investigations into the complaint filed against sociologist Ashis Nandy and festival producer Sanjoy Roy are completed.

Dalit author Kancha Ilaiah, who was in the audience when Nandy made the controversial remark, came to the latter's aid and said on Monday: "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."

The organisers appealed that freedom of expression should be kept alive and pledged to fight to keep the fest open in the coming years.

Festival director William Dalrymple said, "We are terribly proud of what we have done. We will fight to keep it open and make sure this forum remains."

Though the event wrapped up on Monday, the organisers are expected to be in the city till the police investigation is over.

Author Jeet Thayil, who drew the ire of the Muslim community last year for reading out sections of Salman Rushdie's banned book Satanic Verses, yet again drew flak from the audience. In a session called 'The Rebel States', he read out parts from his book Narcopolis, which won the 2013 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, having several 'abuses' and 'objectionable words'.

The reading drew condemnation from the audience and Thayil later clarified that the lines were being said by a character in the book and therefore no one should hold it against him.

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