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Marathi literary meet organisers get threat calls after unanimous election of priest-writer as president

The calls were reportedly received at the Aurangabad office of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal (ABMSM), a confederation of Marathi literary bodies, and the Pune office of Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad (MSP), one of the member bodies of ABMSM.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
September 26, 2019 3:15:15 am
Marathi literary meet organisers get threat calls after unanimous election of priest-writer as president Father Francis D’Britto

TWO key literary bodies involved in organising the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan said they have received threat calls over the unanimous election of writer and environment activist Father Francis D’Britto as the president of the 93rd chapter of the literary meet, scheduled to take place in Osmanabad in January.

The calls were reportedly received at the Aurangabad office of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal (ABMSM), a confederation of Marathi literary bodies, and the Pune office of Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad (MSP), one of the member bodies of ABMSM.

While the ABMSM is the organiser of the annual literary meet, MSP is one of its pioneering members. The calls were reportedly received after the announcement about Father D’Britto being elected president of the sammelan was made on Sunday. Some social media messages attacking D’Britto’s election were also circulated.

Father D’Britto, a Vasai-based Catholic priest, has written over 20 books in Marathi and is a regular contributor to Marathi periodicals. Other than the Marathi translation of the New Testament, the 75-year-old priest has written extensively on theosophical and social issues, as well as on the Sant Sahitya in Marathi.

He has also taken up several local environmental issues and has been a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award.

A public felicitation of Father D’Britto is scheduled to take place at MSP in Pune on Thursday. The organisations’ members said they feared that some elements may try to cause trouble during the programme on Thursday.

Prakash Paygude, secretary of Pune-based MSP, said, “These threat calls were received on the landline number of MSP and ABMSM. There are some social media posts too. We strongly condemn these derogatory messages. We have brought these things to the notice of the police.”

Joint Commissioner of Police, Ravindra Shisave, said, “We have received an application from the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad and their office-bearers have apprised me of calls and social media posts. We have taken cognisance and will take necessary steps.”

Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, a prestigious annual gathering, also saw some controversy last year, after its invitation to renowned author Nayantara Sahgal was rescinded following opposition from some local groups.

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