Opposition against intolerance: Four writers back out of Bangalore Literature Festival

Four writers have backed out from the Bangalore Literature Festival after its director, Vikram Sampath, revealed that he is against writers returning their awards,

FP Staff November 28, 2015 18:32:54 IST
Opposition against intolerance: Four writers back out of Bangalore Literature Festival

Four writers have backed out from the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) after its director, Vikram Sampath, revealed that he is against writers returning their awards, reports Bangalore Mirror.

Opposition against intolerance Four writers back out of Bangalore Literature Festival

Representational image. Reuters

Sampath had written an article titled ‘Why I won’t return my Akademi award’ in The Mint in October, in which he claimed that he didn’t understand why writers were protesting against the government by returning their Sahitya Akademi awards when Sahitya Akademi is an autonomous organisation and not related to the government in any way. He described the situation as being “selective outrage”, as writers had been silent about previous atrocities such as books being banned and attacks on authors. Sampath’s comments did not go down well with writers Dayanand TK and Arif Raja, reports The Hindustan Times.

The two of them wrote to the festival’s organisers separately about their decision to withdraw from the BLF. The Hindustan Times reports that in his letter, Raja called Sampath’s comments “politically motivated and childish” and refuted his claims that writers had not previously spoken out against injustice.

The Times Of India reports that OL Nagabhushana Swamy has also backed out from the festival as he did not want to be a part of an event whose organisers “are not willing to even pause and examine the anguish of writers”.

Malayalam poet and critic Satchidanandan has also withdrawn his participation from the event, reports The Bangalore Mirror.

The Times Of India reports that Sampath and the organisers issued a statement saying that the festival is neutral and impartial. It is a democratic forum where everyone can discuss varied opinions. “To ascribe motives to us is simply mischievous and unwarranted,” said the statement, adding that they urge the writers who have backed out to reconsider their stand participate in the event instead of depriving their vast audience a chance to listen to their viewpoint.

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