• We will not be Silenced: The Writers’ Protest Continues

    Statement from the Indian Writers' Forum

    August 13, 2018

    Image Courtesy: Al Jazeera

    Once again, the current establishment has manufactured “charges” against those who speak up to divert attention from urgent issues. The former President of the Sahitya Akademi, Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, has claimed on troll media that the writers who protested against growing intolerance by returning their awards in 2015 were part of a “political conspiracy”.

    Rather than responding to this defamation, we ask why he and his supporters have begun such a counter campaign at this juncture.

    In 2015, writers and citizens protested against the political assassination of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi. They protested against the lynching of citizens such as Mohammed Akhlaq. The reasons for their protest still hold. Since then, Gauri Lankesh was assassinated for her views. A series of lynchings have taken place, in the name of the cow or in the name of communal hatred.

    The investigation into Gauri Lankesh murder shows that these assassinations — from that of Dabholkar to Lankesh –were linked; they expose a larger plan to kill and silence writers by certain rightwing organisations. The investigation has revealed the existence of arms training camps; the manufacture and storage of explosives. It has also found a diary with a hit list that includes writers and activists from KS Bhagwan to Girish Karnad and Damodar Mauzo. Even the Sahitya Akademi has been moved to issue a press release demanding the safety of writers to speak and write as they must.

    The urgent need of the hour is to resist the intimidation of writers into putting down their pens. Into falling silent. The need of the hour is to complete investigations into the multiple assassinations, and to bring the assassins and their supporting organisations to book. The need of the hour is to pressure the government and law makers to end the lynching of our fellow citizens.

    No diversionary tactic can dilute this urgent need. No slanderous accusation can silence our voices.

    Nayantara Sahgal

    Krishna Sobti

    K. Satchidanandan

    Damodar Mauzo

    Ashok Vajpeyi

    Keki Daruwalla

    Shashi Deshpande

    Dalip Kaur Tiwana

    Ganesh Devy

    Mangalesh Dabral

    Surjit Patar

    Kiran Nagarkar

    Rahman Abbas

    Atamjit Singh

    Rajesh Joshi

    E.V. Ramakrishnan

    Adil Jussawalla

    Githa Hariharan

    Bhai Baldeep Singh

    Sridala Swami

    Ishrat Syed

    Kalpana Swaminathan

    Anjali Nerlekar

    Reginald Massey

    Mallika Sarabhai

    Vidya Rao

    Rajni Bakshi


    Read more in ICF:

    Keeping Count of Dissenting Voices

    Damodar Mauzo: “Indian writers have always stood by their right to freedom of expression…”

    Rahman Abbas: “I condemn the statement of former President of Sahitya Academy Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari and it hurts me.”

    Writers against Self-censorship

    Letter Sent to the President of the Sahitya Akademi

    Writers Respond to CJI Dipak Misra’s Observation in Favour of S.Hareesh

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