THE SHIV Sena on Tuesday alleged that author Nayantara Sahgal’s invite to the 92nd Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan at Yavatmal was rescinded after the organisers learnt about her plan to speak on cow-related lynchings, politics of hatred and “misuse” of government machinery for political revenge.
An editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said: “Sahgal, in her printed speech that was sent to the organisers already, said that all the citizens should feel ashamed of the cow-related lynchings, politics of hatred, using the government machinery for political vendetta, political pressures on the journalists, and the murders of the authors in broad day light. The organisers might have thought commercially that Sehgal coming to the literary conclave means losing government favours.”
Sahgal, who was at the forefront of the ‘award-wapsi’ campaign in 2015, was to inaugurate the literary meet on January 11 in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The editorial added that Fadnavis might also have avoided the event. “So, by canceling the invitation of Sehgal, the authors and the litterateur have killed self respect and freedom of expression with their own hands.”
The party claimed that this is the first such incident when an invite to the person who supposed to inaugurate the literary conclave was cancelled. “It is wrong to strangle her speech since her views may not be acceptable. The situation was similar in the country before 1975. There was a shadow of fear and conspiracies that then converted into Emergency. Has the emergency been imposed in Yavatmal due to the shadow of secret fears that are looming over the meet… and made them restless?” asked Sena. Amid flak by Opposition leaders and authors over rescinding the invitation to Sahgal, the Chief Minister’s Office had on Monday distanced itself from the controversy.