The name of Faye D’Souza, an award-winning television journalist, was dropped from the list of speakers who are scheduled to speak at the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas on January 27.
Speaking at a press meet, Goa’s Art and Culture Minister Govind Gawade said D’Souza’s name was dropped to avoid “mess and chaos”. The Opposition has called the act undemocratic. “Actually she was shortlisted but we were quickly notified that she speaks against the CAA. Please understand that this is not a small event or a private event. This is a government event and we do not want any controversies around it. It’s our decision as it’s our event,” Gawade told The Indian Express.
When contacted, D’Souza said, “I had declined the invitation to that event because of other work commitments I had in Mumbai.”
The event is annually hosted by the Goa Art and Culture Ministry. The shortlisted list of speakers was made public Friday morning. The scheduled speakers for the January 27 event now include weightlifter and Olympic medal winner Karnam Malleshwari, Para-Olympic Games medal winner Deepa Malik and Chhavi Rajawat, India’s first woman sarpanch with an MBA degree.
“Tomorrow, there should not be a mess or chaos. It is such a huge festival. We do not want to be in a contradictory position,” Gawade said on Friday. He also said that the orders “didn’t come from the top” as both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant have “always welcomed public debate on the CAA issue”. Clarifying that it was his ministry’s decision, he said, “it’s our final call on who we should invite for the prestigious lecture series”.
Goa Congress spokesperson Trajano D’Mello also reacted to it saying, “The Goa government has once again proved, that it is all out against freedom of expression. This time it has used the Art and Culture Minister to drop Faye D’Souza from the list of speakers.”
“The reason cited by the Minister for dropping Faye was that she would create chaos and a mess is amusing. Last week, the government had scrapped a rally against the CAA at the last minute citing more frivolous reasons,” D’Mello added.
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