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Literature fest withdraws invite to writer Nayantara Sahgal after threat

The decision was taken to 'avoid any untoward incident and in view of the controversy that has cropped up against her name,' say organisers.

Press Trust of India 

Nayantara Sehgal
Nayantara Sehgal

Organisers of a literature festival on Sunday said they have withdrawn an invitation to writer Nayantara Sahgal, a critic of the government, after "some people" threatened to disrupt the function.

The decision was taken to "avoid any untoward incident and in view of the controversy that has cropped up against her name", said organisers of the All India Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in Yavatmal.

Sahgal, 91 and a Sahitya Akademi awardee, was at the forefront of the 2015 "awardwapsi" campaign against the "growing intolerance in the country" under Modi government. She is a niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister.

Sahgal, who writes in the English language, was supposed to inaugurate the 92nd of the festival on January 11 in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Ramakant Kolte, working president of the festival’s reception committee, said in press release a political outfit had threatened the event.

"Nayantara Sahgal's name was proposed by the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal chief Shreepad Joshi of Nagpur which was accepted by the organisers. A follow-up was taken by sending her a formal invitation," it stated.

The release stated the organisers have decided to revoke Sahgal's invitation, "as a controversy has cropped up against her name and to avoid any untoward incident from those who threatened to derail the literary meet".

"We have sent her a letter cancelling the invitation," Kolte said.

First Published: Sun, January 06 2019. 20:55 IST
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