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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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Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt Takes Pledge Not to Support Citizenship Amendment Act

The Bill, which has since become an Act, will provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh

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Mahesh Bhatt
After attending the press meet, Mahesh Bhatt on Sunday tweeted: We the people of India , having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC.(At Ambedkar's abode. After reading the Preamble of our Constitution)". Wikimedia Commons

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt on Sunday took a pledge not to support the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

He along with Congress leader Sanjay Jha joined a protest meet here. A video is doing the rounds on the Internet in which Bhatt is seen taking the pledge, perhaps a few days back.

“We believe Citizenship Amendment Bill is discriminatory and it violates the constitutional values. We don’t accept this bill and if it becomes a law we shall boycott its execution. We pledge not to submit any documents if asked to prove our citizenship,” he has said in the video.

After attending the press meet, Bhatt on Sunday tweeted: We the people of India , having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC.(At Ambedkar’s abode. After reading the Preamble of our Constitution).”

Several parts of India have been witnessing violent protests ever since the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha last week. The situation further escalated after the bill was cleared in Rajya Sabha.

The Bill, which has since become an Act, will provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Mahesh Bhatt
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt on Sunday took a pledge not to support the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Wikimedia Commons

The issue has caused widespread unprecedented violent protests in the northeast, especially in the states of Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, with the agitating demonstrators demanding the withdrawal of the CAA claiming that the fresh legislation would jeopardize the demographic situations and life, culture and socio-economic positions to the 45.58 million populations of region.

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On Sunday afternoon, four buses were burnt in South Delhi as protesters clashed with police. (IANS)