APDR Statement against political censorship at Kolkata Book Fair

February 5, 2014

PRESS STATEMENT :: Association for Protection of Democratic Rights

GUILD’s POLITICAL CENSORSHIP AT BOOK FAIR
Kolkata, 4 February 2013

APDR condemns the withdrawal of permission by the Kolkata Book Fair authorities to release the book ‘Parijayee Nari’ written by Jashodhara Bagchi at the fair. The so-called technical reasons provided by the Guild for the cancellation does not hold much water. The booking of the venue was done by a fair participant, SEARCH, for the release of the book published by Setu Prakashani, while the function was organised by a women’s forum, Nari Nirjatan Pratirodh Mancha. There are many instances in the past where books published by one publisher have been released by others. In fact, this is quite in line with the celebration of the free spirit of the world of books which the Kolkata Book Fair stands for. It is the Guild authorities who have violated it.

We also note with grave concern that a shadow of virtual censorship is looming large over the Kolkata Book Fair. While the Guild authorities maintain that the fair should be “free from politics”, it is they who are playing politics by guarding the interests of the ruling party. The fact is clear from the Guild general secretary’s statement that the discussion at the book release function could have annoyed the state government. And why should a discussion on oppression of women annoy anyone after all, other than those who want to perpetuate this crime?

We demand that the fair authorities make amends immediately and let the book release function be held at the same venue.

Dhiraj Sengupta
General Secretary