Lucknow: The fifth edition of Lucknow Literary Festival began on Friday amid the Model Code of Conduct with the theme of ‘Literature, Politics and We’, but was called off within an hour of its embarkation as in no time it transformed into a platform to criticise the BJP-led central and Uttar Pradesh governments.
The criticism and the arbitrariness of the organisers led to a scuffle between the members of RSS student wing ABVP and Samajwadi Party student wing which forced the authorities to cancel the event further.
The fallout began after JNU student union president Kanhiya Kumar tried to condemn the Centre and the state governments for trying to suppress every voice that goes against them.
Incidentally, the organiser of the literary festival, Shamim A Aarzoo, had not taken permission for inviting Kanhiya Kumar and AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi. The permission for the rest of the invitees, however, was granted by the administration.
The ABVP workers seemed highly displeased with the presence of Kanhaiya that they manhandled the Communist Leader which led to the brawl between the two groups. Police, however, took the situation under control and ensured the start of the event. But as the platform had turned into a battleground, the authorities had no other option than to call it off.
Where the political parties are working hard to get the best results in the forthcoming Local Body elections in the state, the organisers had planned a three-day Literary Festival from November 10 to 12 at the Sheroes Hangout café here which was to mark the presence of the former Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi, Asaduddin Owaisi, Satrughan Sinha, Bollywood actress Divya Dutta, Barun Gandhi, Jayant Chowdahry Jyotiraj Scindia, Sushmita Sen, Suresh Raina and RP Singh among others.
What Kanhaiya Kumar said at the event?
- You (BJP) have government in 18 states of the country.
- You are trying to stop an individual from speaking what he believes, which is totally wrong.
- I am not afraid of taking bullets in my chest for speaking my mid as I belong to the family of a freedom fighter.
- You cannot defeat me so easily.
Bihar BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha was also present at the event and he once again slammed the Narendra Modi-led central government for the decisions like demonetization and Goods and Services Tax (GST).
What he said?
- Note ban was a wrong move by the government, while GST has a very complicated mechanism.
- Demonetisation led to closure of factories, which reduced the produce and employment for the youth and created a panic in all the industries.
- This is not only my feeling but the view of the country, and I cannot stop myself from addressing this problem of the common people.
Former Uttar Pradesh Governor Aziz Qureshi had also joined the event. Immediately after Kanhiya Kumar was slapped by an ABVP member, he said, “This is very unfortunate (referring to the brawl). By this, BJP is trying to strangle the freedom of expression.” He, however, had refused to come to the dais when the JNU student leader was inaugurating his book.
What the organiser Shamim A Aarzoo said?
- If the administration thins that Kanhaiya and Owaisi were wrong, they can arrest them, but I will do Facebook live of the AIMIM chief at any cost.