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Amol Palekar issue: Opposition accuses govt of 'policing thoughts', 'silencing dissent'

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Accusing the government of "policing people's thoughts", opposition parties Sunday lashed out at the and the for allegedly not allowing Palekar to complete his speech when he began to criticise the ministry for reportedly scrapping the advisory panel at the gallery's and centres.

A video available on purportedly showed Palekar criticising the ministry at the opening of an exhibition in memory of on February 8 for reportedly scrapping the advisory panel. While his speech remained incomplete due to interruptions, the full text has been circulating on for the last two days.

When contacted, of said the advisory committees of Mumbai, and have not been dissolved.

"Their terms have ended recently and they are in the process of being reconstituted. For artists whose works were being showcased it was not less than a wedding. It is a big event in their lives. It was not the right platform for him (Palekar) to raise such issues," Gadanayak told

Asked if any action will be taken against those who interrupted Palekar's speech, he said, "We will do something."

At the opening of the exhibition "Inside The Empty Box" in on Friday, Palekar said, "Many of you may not know that this retrospective will be the last show decided by the advisory committee of local artists and not by some bureaucrat or an agent of the government with an agenda of either moral policing or proliferation of certain art commensurate with an ideological incline."

Despite being asked to stop, Palekar went on to mention that was invited to speak at the Marathi literary convention recently but at the last minute the invitation was withdrawn because what she was going to say "was slightly critical of the situation around us. Are we creating the same situation here?"

Hitting out at the government, said this was the "acchhe din" that had promised and alleged that the government had "taken away the right of the common man to speak".

"There are many things happening in this country which have never happened before. Palekar was not allowed to speak. In cases where big people are accused, in those cases CBI does not appeal. Institutions like CBI and ED are being destroyed.

"Anyone, who they feel, are against them, are slapped with NSA, sedition cases, served ED notices. I have never seen this kind of environment... we will all suffer the consequences," he said.

His party colleague in a tweet termed it an effort to silence dissent.


"Is being redefined? Are institutional pillars of democracy trying to silent the dissent of people (sic)?" he wrote on the mircoblogging site.

said, "Why does the BJP want to police people's thoughts and opinions and control what they eat, wear, say and do? They want to make monochrome and colourless. Telling Mr Palekar to stop speaking shows the nervousness of the government."

CPI(M) Sitaram Yechury, wrote on Twitter, "The whole essence of our democracy, our constitutional rights, is the freedom to criticise the government and its leaders. No one is above criticism. This behaviour with Palekar is undemocratic and highly condemnable."

Industrialist tweeted, "However inappropriate Palekar's comments were for the occasion, he wasn't a heckler, he was an invited The best way to prevent a controversy is for the to clarify that it welcomes constructive criticism and that celebrates free speech.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 10 2019. 21:50 IST