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Eminent people write to Modi seeking arrest of Rajasthan’s BJP MLA Kanwarlal Meena

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New Delhi: Over 150 eminent personalities on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, seeking arrest of Rajasthan BJP legislator Kanwarlal Meena, accused of leading an attack on NGO workers affiliated to organizations of activists Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey in Jhalawar.

“We strongly condemn the culture of impunity that allowed Kanwarlal Meena to blatantly violently attack the Jawabdehi yatra. We demand his arrest,” said a statement signed by over 150 eminent people, including journalist Pamela Philipose, professor Achin Vanaik, former information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, and economist Jayati Ghosh among others.

Others who signed the statement include Medha Patkar, Uma Chakravarti, Harsh Mander, Baba Adhav and Annie Raja.

The social activists through their letters demanded immediate action against the perpetrators of the assault.

“Those guilty of the attacks and the leaders behind them be brought to justice promptly. Proper compensation be paid for the medical treatment of those who were assaulted, and for the mental and physical trauma they have suffered,” the letter said.

They also demanded that the Rajasthan government publicly condemn the incident and institute a proper inquiry into it.

“This attack is one more example of the criminalization of politics and the threat it poses to our democratic fabric. Using physical violence and leading a mob against social activists raising awareness about issues related to access to entitlements and justice by the poor shows how much our political establishment is willing to use criminal elements to suppress any dissent,” said Jagdeep Chhokar of the Association of Democratic Reform. (IANS)

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Jaipur Literature Festival Takes A Questionable Stand On The #MeToo Movement

JLF's fast spreading presence in the international arena, calls for a more substantial stand on its part, as far as #MeToo is concerned.

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#MeToo, women
The hushed whispers are getting louder. Flickr

After several star speakers of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, including C.P. Surendran, Suhel Seth and Chetan Bhagat, among others, have been accused of sexually harassing multiple women, on the sidelines of the popular lit fest, the organisers, in a cautiously worded one-sentence tweet on Thursday, have supported the rising tide of the #MeToo campaign in India — but questions still remain.

“The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival unequivocally stands by the women who have courageously spoken out for equity and dignity and is committed to supporting and amplifying their voices,” the official handle of the JLF said in a tweet on Thursday.

The statement came two days after a petition was started on www.change.org by writer-editor Rajni George, asking its organisers to support the #MeToo India and stand up “against sexual harassment”.

#MeToo
Jaipur Literature Festival

“We write today regarding the serious and credible allegations of sexual harassment made recently against a number of men in and around the literary world, as part of the MeToo movement in India.

“We, the undersigned, are dismayed, saddened and angered by these accounts. We admire the work that the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) undertakes. As India’s largest and most recognised literature festival, we believe JLF is ideally placed to take the lead in addressing this urgent issue,” George’s petition said.

JLF’s response in the one-line tweet is general, and does not specifically mention whether any of the allegations that have now surfaced were earlier brought to the notice of the organisers.

It also does not make it clear whether the doors of the festival will remain closed for the accused in its future editions, or not. It further makes no comment whatsoever on several instances that are said to have taken place on the sidelines of the annual event.

#MeToo
Sanjoy K. Roy, with writers Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple as co-directors, has been instrumental in bringing societal issues to the fore.

Notably, many of the accused have featured in prominent sessions at what is described as the “greatest literary show on Earth”, and, in many instances, the festival has been instrumental in increasing their popularity as well as readership.

On its part, JLF, produced by Teamwork Arts, headed by Sanjoy K. Roy, and with writers Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple as co-directors, has been instrumental in bringing societal issues to the fore. In fact, the 2018 edition of the festival in January this year had come to a close with a hard-hitting debate on #MeToo, long before the campaign gained momentum in India.

Also Read: Watch Jaipur Literature Festival Live On Twitter

Many in the literary circles feel the benchmark that JLF has itself set over the course of its journey, its coming of age and gradual but distinct shift from controversies to substance in the recent years, its fast spreading presence in the international arena, calls for a more substantial stand on its part, as far as #MeToo is concerned. (IANS)

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