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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, Indian Idol, victim
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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India-Pakistan Trade Suspension Leaves 2,500 Labourers Unemployed

The report says these daily wagers from rural areas of both the sides of Wagah and Attari border are stressed due to trade suspension

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According to a report of 'Express News', around 1,000 labourers of Pakistan and 1,500 in India, who used to haul the trucks on both sides are now unemployed after trade was suspended between the countries. Pixabay

The India-Pakistan trade suspension amid increasing tension over Kashmir issue has left at least 2,500 labourers unemployed at Wagah and Attari border.

According to a report of ‘Express News’, around 1,000 labourers of Pakistan and 1,500 in India, who used to haul the trucks on both sides are now unemployed after trade was suspended between the countries.

The report says these daily wagers from rural areas of both the sides of Wagah and Attari border are stressed due to trade suspension.

Labourers, India, Pakistan
The India-Pakistan trade suspension amid increasing tension over Kashmir issue has left at least 2,500 labourers unemployed at Wagah and Attari border. Pixabay

“We have not earned anything for the last one week. All our small savings are exhausted. We used to earn Rs 1,000-Rs 1,500 per day by loading/unloading the trucks,” a labourer is quoted as saying.

Also Read- Fish Oil Pills have Little or No Effect on Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The coolies at Wagah railway station too are unemployed following suspension of Samjhauta trans-border train, the report said. (IANS)