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India: Dalit writers forced out of Maharashtra literary meet

Friday 14 October 2016, by siawi3


Radheshyam Jadhav

TNN | Updated: Oct 13, 2016, 05.41 AM IST

PUNE: Eminent Dalit writer Pradnya Pawar has accused "hooligans" of forcing her and Dalit scholar Raosaheb Kasbe to leave the venue of a Marathi literary meet at Patan (Satara) for their alleged comments on the Maratha community and Chhatrapati Shivaji.

The Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad - the apex literary body in the state - had organized the divisional Marathi literary meet, dedicated to Babasaheb Ambedkar. Pawar was nominated president while Kasbe was invited to inaugurate the two-day meet which started on Saturday.

"The first day was smooth, but on Sunday a mob of 100-150 people came in shouting slogans and wanted me and Raosaheb Kasbe to leave the venue. Organisers asked us to pack our bags and leave the spot immediately," Pawar alleged in a social media post. The development has kicked off a major debate against the wake of massive Maratha marches in the state demanding reservation.

"(We were told) ’You are Dalits and you must not say anything. If you speak, we will let you know the consequences.’ This is hooliganism. Is Patan in India or it is in Pakistan?" asked Pawar. She accused the local MLA of playing politics.

In their speeches, Kasbe and Pawar had raised various issues, including caste-related discrimination, censorship of literature and so on.

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Kasbe said he tried to communicate with the mob. "But nobody was ready to listen. The mob was not even aware of what I had said," he told reporters.

Shiv Sena MLA Shambhuraje Desai from Patan said action must be taken against those who " hurt" the sentiments of the Maratha community.