Urdu writers told not to criticise government

Urdu writers told not to criticise government

Cong terms it biased and attack on freedom of expression

Urdu writers told not to criticise government
The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) has stoked a controversy after it made it mandatory for the Urdu authors to undertake in writing that their books, to be procured under a scheme, did not contain anything against the policies of the government.

Tariq Anwar, a member of the NCPUL and a Congress MP, on Sunday described the move as “biased and an attack on freedom of expression”, demanding that the council must withdraw its decision with immediate effect.

To get their books purchased by the NCPUL under a scheme, Urdu authors are now required to fill a form, declaring that their book, journal or booklet does not contain anything which goes against the policies of the Indian government, national interest, or which promotes disharmony between the various communities. As the requirement to fill up such a declaration form led to an outrage, the council issued a clarification on Saturday claiming that the said form, to be filled by the authors, was not something new and that this had been the practice for the last many years for the books sponsored by the NCPUL.

The council’s claim, however, was categorically rubbished by Anwar as well writers and former director of the NCPUL Khwaja Ekram. “This is absolutely false,” Anwar told Deccan Herald.

The council’s clarification was issued by the Human Resource Development Ministry. “I will raise the issue in the council’s meeting and also write to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, demanding withdrawal of ICPUL’s decision. Attempts are being made to take away the freedom of expression since the Bharatiya Janata Party led coalition came to power at the Centre,” Anwar added.

Author Shahnaz Nabi, whose book had been purchased by the council under the scheme last year, said he had not been asked to furnish such a declaration form.

Though the council did not mention any details about the book and its content, sources said that it was book written by Afzal Misbahi who had mentioned Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's birthplace as Punjab. But, a committee set up to look into the complaint against the author gave him a clean chit as he had attributed this incorrect information about Azad to book by some other author.