Now, BJP finds cause to protest against Jaipur literature festival

After Muslim groups objected to the participation of some authors who allegedly hurt their sentiments by reading excerpts from the banned book “Satanic Verses” during last year’s literary festival, it is the turn of the Bharatiya Janata Party to join the protest bandwagon.

The BJP Yuva Morcha has threatened to protest if Pakistani authors were allowed to attend the event, touted as the biggest in Asia. The saffron party’s youth wing met Commissioner of Police B L Soni on Tuesday and informed of their protest.

Yuva Morcha president Rishi Bansal said “we will not allow the double standards of Pakistan to succeed. On the one hand they want cultural exchange while on the other hand they practice hatred”.

BJP president Arun Chaturvedi said “we will protest if Pakistanis are allowed to participate in the event. We cannot allow this cultural exchange when the neighbouring country does not have respect for any norms of civilized behaviour”.

Some Muslim groups had earlier warned organisers against inviting authors who hurt religious sentiments of the community, including the four who had read out passages from Salman Rushdie’s banned “Satanic Verses” at the event last year.

The organisers of the annual literary event, however, said they will not be bullied by these threats and that all invited authors will attend and be given security.

Producer of the event Sanjoy Roy told a news channel: “We will not be bullied. This is terrorism of the mind at its worst. A few people are holding everyone hostage by claiming to represent others.” He went on to say that artists are targeted because they are highly visible soft targets.

“How can you allow a few people to hijack a nation’s agenda again and again?” Roy asked, adding, “these people tend to get away because the media tends to accentuate this terrorism of the mind.”

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