PEN International Protests on Intolerance

Writers urge David Cameron
Nov 13, 2015 – Aditi Khanna | PTI

Narendra Modi addresses an audience of business leaders and politicians at Guildhall in central London. (Photo: AP)

(After Amnesty comes PEN International with protest from 200 authors. It looks like a domino effect. So all is not hunky dory in UK for Modiji. Nay things are going from bad to worse! Thanks to the landslide victory he got to become PM, he was feted royally in over 30 world capitals. At the same time the public parade of red flags of protest in London, is teasing him to go wild like a bull before a red rag. This makes it abundantly clear to the world community that India today has a very controversial PM. The Hindutva fringe elements indulging in their intolerant, divisive, communal agenda, protected and promoted by the PM’s own selective silence should take the lion’s share of blame for this development. Any failure to see this ominous dark clouds on the horizon can turn out to be the biggest road block for Modij’s victorious march ahead. james kottoor, editor)
Over 200 prominent authors, including Salman Rushdie, have asked British Prime Minister David Cameron to raise the issue of “rising climate of fear” and “growing intolerance” in India with counterpart Narendra Modi, in second letter from the PEN International in less than a month. Booker Prize winner Rushdie, recent Booker prize shortlisted British-Indian author Neel Mukherjee and other well-known names like Ian McEwan and Hari Kunzru are among the signatories of the open letter to Mr Cameron that seeks to ensure “freedom of speech is safeguarded” in India.

The letter issued yesterday is the second from the PEN International — a worldwide membership organisation for prominent literary figures — in less than a month over the issue of “rising intolerance” in India. On October 17, writers from 150 countries had expressed solidarity with dissenting Indian authors and artistes who returned their prestigious awards.

The latest letter also signed by members of its centres in England, Wales and Scotland says: “We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned about the rising climate of fear, growing intolerance and violence towards critical voices who challenge orthodoxy or fundamentalism in India… We urge you to engage with Prime Minister Modi both publicly and privately on this crucial issue. “Please speak out on the current state of freedom of expression in his country, urging him to stay true to the spirit of the democratic freedoms enshrined in India’s Constitution.”

It points to the recent murders of the intellectuals Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, and to the protests that have seen at least 40 Indian writers return literary awards to the Sahitya Akademi, the National Academy of Letters, in condemnation of its silence over the attacks.

It also refers to last month’s cancellation of a concert by Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali due to protests by Shiv Sainiks in Mumbai and the infamous ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of Observer Research Foundation (ORF), pointing out how despite its constitutional commitments, legal system in India makes
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