Nayantara Sahgal's invite to literary meet rescinded amid threats by political parties; MNS says 'no objection' to writer's participation

Organisers of the All India Marathi Literary Meet have withdrawn the invitation extended to noted author Nayantara Sahgal, who was at the forefront of the "award wapsi" campaign, after threats to disrupt the event.

 Nayantara Sahgals invite to literary meet rescinded amid threats by political parties; MNS says no objection to writers participation

File image of Nayantara Sahgal. News18

The decision was taken to "avoid any untoward incident and in view of the controversy that has cropped up against her name", after a political outfit threatened to disrupt the function, the organisers said Sunday.

Sahgal (91), a Sahitya Akademi awardee, was at the forefront of the 2015 "award wapsi" campaign against the "growing intolerance in the country" under the Narendra Modi government. Sahgal was to inaugurate the 92nd literary meet on 11 January in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Noted Marathi author Aruna Dhere will preside over the event.

In a press release issued Sunday, working president of the literary meet's reception committee Ramakant Kolte said the organisers have taken cognisance of the threat issued by a member of a political outfit.

"Nayantara Sahgal's name was proposed by the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal chief Shreepad Joshi of Nagpur which was accepted by the organisers. A follow-up was taken by sending her a formal invitation," it stated.

The release stated the organisers have decided to revoke Sahgal's invitation, "as a controversy has cropped up against her name and to avoid any untoward incident from those who threatened to derail the literary meet". "We have sent her a letter cancelling the invitation," Kolte said, adding that the new name for the inauguration function is yet to be finalised.

The Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal (ABMSM) said in a statement in Nagpur that the decision to withdraw the invite was taken by the local level organisers.

"There were newspaper reports about objections and (likely) protests to Nayantara Sahgal inaugurating the event. It was being said that some people would not let the literary meet function. Hence, to avoid any obstruction and untoward incident, the organising committee at the local level decided to send a withdrawal letter to Sahgal. "This is not the directive of the Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal. It is the local organising committee which has taken the decision," it stated.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray clarified that his party had no objection to Sahgal's presence at the literary meet. He also apologised for the statement of an MNS party worker in Yawatmal threatening Sahgal.

The full statement released by Thackeray can be read here:

statement-min

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Updated Date: Jan 07, 2019 12:21:31 IST