K Satchidanandan earlier remarked that he was concerned if people with extreme right-wing ideologies should be a part of the festival.

Kerala Literature Festival directors remark sparks controversy BJP lashes out
news Controversy Saturday, February 10, 2018 - 09:14

The ongoing Kerala Literature Festival is embroiled in a controversy after a statement made by the festival’s director garnered attention.

K Satchidanandan, the festival director, earlier remarked that he was concerned if people with extreme right-wing ideologies should be a part of the literature festival.

"They are not part of a particular party or anything, but people who believe in democracy (are part of this). At the same time, we have a concern whether people who don't believe in all these should be part of it," he said.

Terming the statement as “undemocratic”, Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam said that platforms like these must be used for communicating ideas that support different ideologies.

“I heard the statement made by Satchidanandan and it is undemocratic. Platforms like these must be used for creating a space for healthy discussions and communicating ideas that support different ideologies”, he said.

“Yes, we should not allow people who propagate anti-nationalism to be part of such fests. But I must say that I have heard speakers making anti-national statements in this fest”, Alphons added.

Clarifying his stand, Satchidanandan told the media that Alphons misunderstood his statement.

“Supporters and thinkers of right-wing ideologies are not commonly participants of this literature fest. At the same time, the speakers and participants are not expected to be from a particular party or supporters of a particular ideology, but we are not appreciative of speakers who do not respect democracy and the constitution,” Satchidanandan said.

“I only intended to point at people who make anti-national statements. It would be wrong to say that we don’t encourage right-wing thinkers in the fest. There are speakers who support right-wing ideology”, he added.

BJP State General Secretary K Surendran put a Facebook post, lashing out at Satchidanandan.

“What does Satchidanandan think of himself? He has made the literary fest a CPI(M) affair and he is justifying his actions. He has said that those who represent BJP should not even be called for panel discussions. But he has no shame in accepting the Rs 20 lakh offered by the central government to organize the fest. Kerala will not tolerate such people who have not understood the value of democracy”, the post said.



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