Controversy hounded the Jaipur Literature Festival on Monday as different groups made demands that were shot down by the organisers.
The RSS and BJP opposed the participation of seven Pakistani authors in the five-day festival that begins on January 24. Muslim clerics, meanwhile, demanded that the four authors who read from Salman Rushdie’s controversial book Satanic Verses last year be banned from the event.
The organisers, however, put up a brave front and maintained the festival would go ahead as planned. Festival producer Sanjoy Roy said the Pakistani authors would be participating.
Roy also responded to the warning by clerics who wanted Jeet Thayil, Ruchir Joshi, Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar to stay away.
“These are fringe Muslim elements. They don’t represent anyone. This is terrorism at its worst. These people should air their views in a peaceful manner,” he said.
Last year, cases were filed against all four by Muslim activists. Rushdie, who was slated to attend the festival, had to cancel his visit after the protests.
Jaipur commissioner BL Soni said police would ensure law and order: “We’ll provide 100 armed police personnel, but organisers have been asked to ensure that no one’s feelings are hurt.”