An event to honour International Booker Prize-2022 winner Geetanjali Shree in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra was cancelled on Saturday after a police complaint was filed in Hathras district alleging that her book ‘Ret Samadhi’ (Tomb of Sand) hurt religious sentiments.
The event was cancelled by the organisers ‘Rangleela’ and ‘Agra Theatre Club’ after the author decided not to attend the event when the news of the complaint reached her. The complaint was submitted at the Shadabad police station on July 21 by one Sandeep Kumar Pathak, a local resident.
The Hathras police on Saturday said they were looking into the complaint and no FIR had been lodged so far. ‘Ret Samadhi’, translated into English by Daisy Rockwell, is the first Hindi novel to be awarded the International Booker Prize.
Anil Shukla, who heads ‘Rangleela’, said, “We decided to postpone the event indefinitely. People who were supposed to participate in the event are now holding a meeting where they will discuss her writing. After news of the opposition to the event and her writing reached the author, she said that we should not host the programme for now. Shree said she was disturbed over filing of the complaint.”
Shukla added, “The event was to be attended by people from different walks of life. There was a lot of excitement among academics, writers, poets and intellectuals to host her.”
Speaking to reporters, complainant Sandeep Kumar Pathak said, “There are some objectionable bits on page 222 of ‘Ret Samadhi’. I feel it is disrespectful towards the followers of Hinduism…”
Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox
He claimed that the language for Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati was “objectionable”. “I felt that the words hurt my religious feelings… It is obscene and I submitted a complaint at the Sadabad police station in Hathras. I have also submitted a complaint on the CM’s portal through social mediabut no FIR has been lodged.”
Shadabad Station House Officer (SHO) Ashish Kumar Singh said, “We are looking into the allegations and an investigation is on. No FIR has been filed so far.”