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13 April, 2010

An obnoxious move to muzzle freedom of expression

The following is a statement issued by Sukla Sen for EKTA:

The news report that a "private citizen", or rather a "social worker", has filed a police complaint against Arundhati Roy on the ground that her recent essay 'Walking with the Comrades: Gandhians with a Gun?' carried by the Outlook magazine in its March 29 issue has glorified Maoists and asked for actions under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 is extremely disturbing. It is an obnoxious move to muzzle freedom of expression which is highly condemnable.

The move is comparable with the demand for banning of the 'Satanic Verses' or the 'Moor's Last Sigh' by Salman Rusdie or ‘Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India’ by James Laine or such other publications. Or endlessly harassing M F Husain through court cases and threats of arrest for his works of art. In fact here the implications could be even grimmer.

It is hardly anybody's case that a celebrity cannot be publicly questioned or critiqued for her/his public role and works. And glorification of gory violence, by whosoever, needs be stoutly opposed. But an attempt to muzzle voice, when there is no case of any "hate speech" or so, and intimidate dissent is utterly distasteful and dangerous. We do strongly condemn it and urge the government of Chhattisgarh to desist from taking any rash action.

We also appeal to the common citizenry to protest against any such move in that direction.

Sukla Sen
for EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity)

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