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‘सलमान रूश्दी के कार्यक्रम रद्द होने पर निराशा'; PUCL regrets cancellation of Salman Rushdie’s visit to Jaipur

January 20, 2012

Given below is the text of a press statement issued today by the PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, Rajasthan. The Hindi original is followed by an English translation.

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति
सलमान रूश्दी के कार्यक्रम रद्द होने पर निराशा
दिनांक: 20.01.2012

सलमान रूष्दी के जयपुर आने के कार्यक्रम के सम्बन्ध में जब कंछ मुस्लिम संगठनों ने हिंसक विरोध की चेतावनी दी थी तभी पी.यू.सी.एल. ने तुरन्त उसके विरोध में अपना वक्तव्य दिया था और कुछ प्रभावषाली मुस्लिम संगठनो तथा उस समाज के प्रबुद्ध नागरिकों से सम्पर्क कर उनसे विस्तृत चर्चायें की थीं। उन्होने भी हमारे दृष्टिकोण को समझा था और किसी प्रकार के हिंसक विरोध के सम्बन्ध में अपनी असहमति भी प्रकट की थी। परन्तु वह सलमान रूष्दी का जयपुर आगमन पर अपने विरोध के स्वरो को मुखरित करने के अधिकार को सुरक्षित रखना चाहते थे। इसमें कोई आपत्ति भी नहीं हो सकती थी परन्तु ऐसे विरोध की सीमायें कहॉं तक हांेगी इस पर चर्चा जारी थी। इसी बीच सरकार की ओर से यह वक्तव्य दिया गया कि सलमान रूष्दी के आने से कानून और व्यवस्था की स्थिति बिगड़ सकती है। इसलिए उनके आने पर पाबंदी लगाने पर विचार किया जा रहा है। पी.यू.सी.एल. ने सरकार के इस रवैये का जमकर विरोध किया था और इस पर एक प्रदर्षन भी आयोजित किया था। मुस्लिम संगठनों से इसके बाद विस्तृत चर्चा हुई और उन्होने भी यह स्वीकार किया कि कानून और व्यवस्था की स्थिति नहीं बिगड़ने देगें। लेकिन लगता है कि सरकारों को यह प्रयास रूचिकर नहीं लगे और आज सलमान रूष्दी ने ई-मेल सन्देष भेेजकर अपना कार्यक्रम रद्द करते हुए यह कहा है कि उन्हें राज्य सरकार से सन्देष प्राप्त हुआ है कि कुछ उग्रवादी तत्व किसी अन्य प्रदेष से आकर उनकी जान लेने की कोषिष कर सकते हैं। हंालाकि उन्होने स्वयं इस प्रकार की खबर को सन्देहात्मक बताया है परन्तु अपना कार्यक्रम रद्द करने का यही कारण बताया है।

इस घटनाक्रम से ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि सरकार खुद यही चाहती थी कि पहले विरोध उठे और फिर सरकार के हस्तक्षेप से कार्यक्रम रद्द हो जाय तो मुस्लिम समाज उनका आभारी होगा और अभी होने वाले चुनावों में उनकी पार्टी को समर्थन देगा। जब सही बात यह है कि ऐसे किसी खतरे की आषंका नहीं थी और फिर पुलिस और अन्य सुरक्षा ऐजेन्सी द्वारा किये जाने वाले सुरक्षा इन्तजाम किस के लिये हैं ?

हम यह स्पष्ट कर देना चाहते है कि सलमान रूष्दी के जयपुर आने के सम्बन्ध में और लिटरेचर फेस्टिवल में भाग लेने न लेने पर हमें मूल रूप से कोई दिलचस्पी नहीं है जब अभिव्यक्ति के अधिकार पर हमला और हिंसक विरोध जैसी बातें होती हैं तो वह हमारे लिए मानव अधिकार के हनन का प्रष्न बन जाता है और इसलिए हमने तीव्रगति से अपनी ओर से कार्यवाही की थी और इसलिए सलमान रूष्दी के द्वारा कार्यक्रम रद्द कर देने से हमे ंनिराषा ही हुई है।

निराषा इस बात से भी हुई हे कि मानव अधिकार हनन के सवाल पर और इन मूल्यों पर अपने साथ जिस मजबूती की आषा हमें स्वयं सलमान रूष्दी जैसे लेखक और लिटरेचर फेस्टीवल के आयोजकों से करते थे वह खरी साबित नहीं हुई। परन्तु यह भी सही है कि मानवाधिकार के सम्बन्ध में हमारे संघर्ष की भावना बहुत तेजी से उभर कर सामने आई है।

भवदीय!

प्रेमकृष्ण शर्मा
(अध्यक्ष)

कविता श्रीवास्तव
(महासचिव)

Press Statement by the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan expressing Regret at the Cancellation of Salman Rushdie’s Programme of visiting Jaipur and the Jaipur Literary Festival 

20.01.2012 

Some Muslim organizations had expressed their intention to organize violent protests in the event of Salman Rusdhie’s coming to Jaipur to participate in the Jaipur Literary Festival 2012. We in PUCL Rajasthan immediately articulated our opposition to such proposals and also contacted eminent citizens and had detailed discussions with them on this matter. These discussions were positive, and our point of view was understood by these eminent citizens and they voiced their disagreement with any plan to organize violent protests. However, while expressing their opposition to Salman Rushdie’s planned visit to Jaipur, they (the eminent citizens) wanted the right to protest peacefully against Rusdhie’s presence in Jaipir to also be safeguarded. We feel that there need not be any opposition to such a demand, and discussions in this spirit were continuing to deliberate on what can be the legitimate and acceptable limits of such protests. 

While this process of discussion and deliberation was on, representatives of the  government expressed an apprehension that the law and order situation could get gravely disturbed in the event of Salman Rushdie’s visit, and therefore, the government is contemplating measures to prevent his presence in Jaipur. PUCL Rajasthan condemned this move on the government’s part in the strongest of terms, and even organized a public demonstration expressing its point of view. There were extensive discussions following from this and many assurances to the effect that there would be no disturbance of peace and that all protests would be lawful were received. It appears that concerned government agencies at the state and the centre did not take kindly to this process. This is evident from the email sent out by Salman Rushdie earlier today in which he says that he is canceling his visit to Jaipur because sources within the government of Rajasthan have told him that they believe that extremist elements from outside the state of Rajasthan have made plans to assassinate him at the Festival. Salman Rushdie has himself expressed doubts on the veracity of this suggestion, but he has maintained, at the same time, that this is the reason for his decision to cancel his visit to Jaipur. 

This course of events suggests that the government itself wanted these threats of violent protests to be made, so that if could then be seen to be intervening to cancel the program of Rushdie’s participation on the JLF, in order to earn the gratitude of sections of the Muslim community. No doubt there is an expectation on the part of the ruling party that this ‘gratitude’ will translate into ‘electoral support’ in the forthcoming election. In our perception, the truth is that there was no serious danger, and if there was, we would like to know what the entire machinery of the police and security agencies is for, if not to prevent such threats from being actualized.  

We would like to clarify here that our concern lies not so much in the hypothetical matter of Salman Rushdie’s presence in Jaipur as an individual or in whether or not he participates at the Literature Festival per-se. Rather, our concern was with the more fundamental matter of the violation of the basic human right to the freedom of expression. This is why we acted in this matter with urgency, and this is why we find it unfortunate that matters came to such a pass that Salman Rushdie had to cancel his visit to Jaipur and to the JLF. 

We regret that the organizers of the Jaipur Literature Festival, and indeed Salman Rushdie himself, did not find it possible to meet our expectations of a firm and committed stand  against the violation of right to freedom of expression and allied assaults on the values of liberty. However, it is also true that in the course of  campaign, we have found a great deal of general support for the right to freedom of expression. 

sincerely, 

Prem Krishna Sharma (President)
Kavita Srivastava (General Secretary)
Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan
76, Shanti Niketan Colony, Kisan Marg, Jaipur- 302015
E-mail : pucl.rajasthan at gmail.com

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2012 11:29 AM

    Have you not read statement of police commissioner of Mumbai he told we had not send any wire to Rushdie for danger to his life if you attended to Jaipur?Why than Rushdie lied ?I think he wanted to create sensation in media.All literary world know he is publicity monger.For very beginning he is hungry for popularity. .He worked as a copywriter so he know marketing technique and used it for his brand name.Western literary world know him as popular best selling write no one called him secrious novelist.How he created his image scandalize writing that also everybody know..I really amazed credulous Indians don’t understand his tactic and calling him great novelist.All Indians losses their thinking faculty?Or they dancing without reading his books?

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