Shame on you India…Shame on you…And what is equally shameful is that all the other writers didn’t get together to defend these four authors because no one wanted the Festival to be stopped by the authorities!
JLF producer Sanjoy Roy, while denying that he had asked the authors to leave, said the Jaipur police had sought the tapes of the session in which the four had read out the banned book. Roy said the organizers had met the authors on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday to “apprise them of the issues”.
The Jaipur police, meanwhile, said they had not given any advice suggesting that any of the above authors should leave the festival. “There was a possibility of our arrest… so the organizers advised us to leave the festival,” Jeet Thayil told TOI while preparing to leave.
Hari Kunzru, who hurriedly left the festival on Saturday and took a flight out of the country on Sunday, said in a statement, “I risked arrest and might well find myself unable to return home to New York until any resulting cases had been resolved. The festival organizers later informed me that they had been advised that it was unsafe for me to stay in Jaipur, and my continued presence at the festival would only inflame an already volatile situation.”
Kunzru refused to blame the organizers for the turn of events. “I consider William Dalrymple and Sanjoy Roy close friends, and I feel that they acted honourably in difficult circumstances which were not of their making. I am relieved that the JLF was not shut down, which appeared to be a possibility on Friday night,” the statement said.