Is the Jaipur Literary Festival deliberately being targeted?

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What is happening in Jaipur?

Last year we were witness to an unseemly reaction to the proposed attendance of Salman Rushdie by Muslim groups who apparently objected to one of the author’s books titled “Satanic Verses”. Curiously Rushdie had been visiting Indian off and on for years. He is also a PIO (Person of Indian Origin). The organizers were harassed and even a complaint was filed with the police by the reactionary forces against four attending authors who had read from the Satanic Verses – Ruchir Joshi, Jeet Thayil, Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar; and against the organizers for offending the religious sensibilities of the Muslims.

These same forces somehow overlooked Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s attendance two years ago at the 2010 edition of the festival! It is evident that the mob were not “made aware” of her contribution to world literature and the civil & human rights of women in Islam.

Now at this year’s festival, Ashis Nandy, a noted Indian political psychologist, social theorist, and a contemporary cultural and political critic is at the centre of a controversy. He is believed to have commented in a panel discussion that the OBC, Dalits etc. as most corrupt. That is, basically all lower caste/backward castes are more corrupt.

Many self righteous self appointed gendarmes of political correctness, those who want to exploit this controversy for their own political ends and a slightly breathless media have all but crucified him. Ashis has fled Jaipur city just like the Indian authors who had read parts of Satanic verses at the 2012!

News Update:

–          Additional commissioner of police Biju George Joseph said the organisers were asked to remain in the city as a probe is going on against Nandy and festival producer Sanjoy Roy.

“We asked the organisers not to leave the city in order to complete the probe,” Joseph said.

Confirming the development, Roy said, “I have signed the papers on behalf of the JLF team to comply with the orders.”

An FIR was lodged against Nandy and Roy last Saturday by Rajpal Meena, Chairperson of the SC/ST Rajasthan Manch, after Nandy stoked a controversy with comments that people from OBC, SC and ST were the “most corrupt”.

What a shame that an international literary festival is being deliberately targeted by reactionary forces.

What a shame that the world’s largest democracy is itself prisoner to persons/groups who/that want to muzzle free speech.

What a shame that reactionary forces appear to be targeting the Jaipur Literary Festival.

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Live Encounters Magazine February 2013

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Here is the link to the Feb Issue which has been brought out early because it is a Special Edition on women’s issues with all women contributors from around the world.

Did you know that one in three women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime – that is one billion abused women. On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013, one billion women will dance, dance to highlight the atrocities committed against them, sing for equality, and celebrate freedom of Self. So we have dedicated this issue to ‘The Woman’ and have invited women from across the world to contribute articles on women’s issues. Please share this Special Issue on and by women with your family and friends. Let us begin to be the change.

Kalyani Menon-Sen, Feminist Researcher and Activist, has written the Guest Editorial.

Jemma Purdey, Writer and Mother, throws light on the mass rapes of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia in 1998.

Anat Hoffman, Civil and Human Rights Activist, on Jewish women’s fight for the right to worship at the Wailing Wall on par with the men in Israel

Jill Gocher, international photographer presents her images in celebration of the spirit of woman.

Paula Banerjee, author of Indian Women in Borderlands speaks to Live Encounters on her book.

Natalie Wood, journalist and flash fiction writer, pens a hilarious short story.

The Myth of Mother India – Rape, female foeticide, casteism and slavery are diseases that are endemic in the world’s largest democracy.

Candess M Campbell shares a chapter from her just released book, 12 weeks to self healing.

Call for Justice – a statement by women’s and progressive groups and individuals condemning sexual violence and opposing death penalty.

Simone de Beauvoir, author of the ground breaking book, The Second Sex, speaks to us at The Late Writers & Readers Festival.

Please share this magazine with your family and friends.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

How you can contribute to Live Encounters Magazine

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Live Encounters is a not-for-profit free online magazine that was started in 2009 in Bali, Indonesia. It showcases some of the best writing from around the world.Civil and human rights activists, animal rights activists, poets, writers, journalists, social workers and more have contributed their time and knowledge for the benefit of the readers of the magazine.

We are appealing for donations to pay for the administrative and technical aspects of the publication. Please help spread the free distribution of knowledge with any amount that you feel you want to give for this just cause.

Every donor will have his/her name published (if they so desire) in following issues. Also, we will email you every issue.

Peace and God Bless

Mark Ulyseas
Publisher/Editor
Live Encounters Magazine
markulyseas@liveencounters.net

Latest News from Committee to Protect Journalists

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CPJ Impact – October 2012 
Tackling Turkey’s press freedom crisis
 
top_feature-turkey2012.205Turkey’s use of broad anti-state charges to jail at least 61 journalists in reprisal for their work has resulted in the country being ranked the worst jailer of journalists, surpassing global press freedom violators such as China  and Iran, CPJ found in a special report released this month in English and Turkish
 
CPJ’s findings were featured in most leading national dailies in Turkey and on the national cable networks, including the widely viewed CNN Turk. International media coverage was also widespread, with BBC and CNN International broadcasting live interviews about the report, and an especially powerful editorial published by Bloomberg View
 
A delegation to Istanbul led by CPJ board Chairman Sandy Rowe met with human rights advocates, press freedom groups, and Turkish journalists who have been victims of the crackdown. A second CPJ delegation that will arrive  in Turkey in early November has requested high-level government meetings. The report is also a seed for longer-term advocacy, including with the European Union and United States government.   
 
To reduce the number of journalists in prison in Turkey, CPJ is pushing for comprehensive reform. A number of imprisoned journalists, including Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, have already been released as a result of international pressure.
Welcoming an exiled Ethiopian journalist
 
Journalists joined with press freedom supporters to welcome Ethiopian journalist  Kassahun Yilma, CUNY’s 2012 International Journalist in Residence, at a discussion panel and reception hosted by CPJ in collaboration with the City University of New York ’s Journalism School. The program, in its fifth year, provides a professional nest for journalists from around the globe who have been forced out of their countries, and gives them access to the journalism school and all of its resources.
 
CPJ first encountered Kassahun in January 2010, a month after he and his colleagues from the Ethiopian independent Addis Neger fled their homes due to charges under the government’s vague anti-terrorism laws and other threats. 
 
At least 48 other Ethiopian journalists have been forced into exile since 2007, following continuous harassment and the threat of imprisonment. CPJ research shows that more journalists have gone into exile from East Africa in the past five years than from anywhere else in the world. In recognition of the dangers they face, CPJ’s Journalist Assistance Program  has made a special effort to optimize support for East African journalists. 
Cameroon reacts to CPJ report
 
CPJ called the Cameroonian government’s attention this month to the country’s  shortcomings in press freedom by making a public statement with other media watchdogs. But the government instead denied the claims in a press conference and called the findings “nonsensical.” 
 
Along with  PEN International and Internet Sans Frontieres, CPJ filed a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council  ahead of Cameroon’s human rights review in May and April 2013, on the country’s failure  to meet its stated pledge of freedom of expression. The report found that the climate of free expression in the country had sharply deteriorated in recent years. Authorities were using legal regulations to limit free speech of journalists, writers, and musicians, and were also restricting online free expression, the report found. In addition, the report said, the country was not safe for people whose opinions were not in line with those that are officially accepted.
Fighting Philippines’ cybercrime law
 
blog.phillipines.10.9.AFP.205After much criticism by local and international human rights and press freedom groups including CPJ, the Philippines Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on October 9 to stop the new Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 from being implemented in the country.
 
CPJ had written extensively on the cybercrime law, which would increase restrictions on the press, including doubling maximum penalties for libel from six years to 12 and criminalizing the posting of online comments that were deemed libelous. 
 
CPJ will continue to put pressure on President Benigno Aquino III, who signed the bill into law in September despite intense criticism from local and international journalists and human rights communities. 
UN spotlight on Iran’s press freedom record
 
CPJ provided much of the research necessary for a report  submitted by Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, to the United Nations General Assembly on October 13. The report painted a deeply troubling picture of the human rights situation in Iran, including “many concerns which are systemic in nature.” Much of the report was focused on freedom of expression and the right to information, and used a great deal of CPJ research to highlight how Iranian authorities have undermined press freedom through surveillance, detention, and imprisonment. 
 
Shaheed’s report will be the basis for a General Assembly resolution critical of Iran’s human rights violations, which will likely be voted on in December.
 
CPJ has often contributed  to Shaheed’s work in documenting press freedom violations in Iran, a country that is one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists.
Defending the mobile Internet 
 
Earlier this month, CPJ brought together African journalists and entrepreneurs, executives, and technologists from Silicon Valley to  discuss the far-reaching implications of the mobile Internet. In CPJ’s second annual Online Press Freedom Summit in San Francisco on October 10, the organization facilitated a discussion between companies developing online tools and the journalists who use these tools on the front lines. 
 
Along with several independent journalists, CPJ met with leading online companies during the two-day summit. The meeting ended with a public panel at Stanford University, which was sponsored by the school’s Program on Liberation Technology in collaboration with CPJ and the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship, where the summit’s conclusions were discussed by all.
 
With the mobile Internet set to surpass the wired Net in usage and users, repressive governments now have unprecedented power to identify, locate, and harass journalists, their sources, and their audiences. The implications of this are most obvious in Africa, where journalists have seized on mobile-driven innovations to transform newsgathering. Keeping this in mind, CPJ is intent on providing journalists with information and resources to fight the repressive oversight.
Urging strong steps to protect journalists
 
Blog.impunity.10.23.CFOM.205In a statement given to UNESCO this month, CPJ joined more than 40 international media organizations to demand  action by governments, the United Nations, and the news industry to stop violence against journalists and end impunity in attacks on the press. 
 
The call for action comes ahead of the Second U.N. Inter Agency meeting on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, where representatives from U.N. agencies, member states, and civil society will debate the implementation of the U.N. Plan of Action  on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The meeting is scheduled for November 22 and 23 in Vienna.
 
CPJ was consulted on the development of the U.N. plan, and will continue working to ensure UNESCO and other U.N. agencies are sustaining their commitment to journalist safety and the issue of impunity.
Upcoming Events
 
CPJ has scheduled its annual International Press Freedom Awards  for Tuesday, November 20, 2012, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. For tickets, please call CPJ’s Development Office at +1 (212) 465-1004, ext. 113.
Donate
CPJ’s Distress Fund provides emergency grants to journalists facing persecution for their work. Support our work and give a gift  today.
Blog Highlights

So will Obama get Julian Assange like he did Osama?

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The latest news bodes ill for Julian Assange as the Supreme Court of Britain has approved his extradition to face rape “accusations” in Sweden. The peculiar aspect of this case is that the Swedish Police have not charged him with any crime, they “simply” want to interrogate him about the rape charges.

I wonder if the USA will finally get Assange from Sweden. I think so. And so do million others. What better prize catch than Assange just before the Presidential Elections in November !

Only time will tell. One hopes that sanity, integrity and more importantly truth will prevail.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Jaipur Literary Festival – Muslims Speak out for Rushdie!

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The voices of sanity from the Indian Muslim Community have been raised against their own for opposing Rushdie’s visit to the Jaipur Literary Festival.

NEWS REPORT

India’s leading Islamic theologian Maulana Wahiddudin Khan described calls for banning Rushdie or his book “alien to our secular constitution” and un-Islamic. “It’s against the Islamic spirit,” he wrote in his TOI’s Speaking Tree column. He quoted a verse from the Quran to make his point. “It reads: ‘If any of the non-believers seeks your protection, then let him come so that he may hear the words of God, then convey him to a place of safety’.” The Maulana wrote that Muslims should engage and put their points of view in a rational manner. “If Rushdie is not convinced, they should make ‘dua’ for him and, according to the Quranic teaching, see him off amicably, without rancour.”

Journalist Seema Mustafa said “the role of media and particularly TV” was “reprehensible” for they “strengthened the Muslim stereotype by bringing unidentifiable mullahs to say what they want to reinforce this stereotypes”. She echoed a growing number of Muslims who are sore about the tendency to present reactionaries as the sole spokespersons of the community while ignoring saner voices.

National Minorities Commission chief Wajahat Habibullah echoed Seema Mustafa in part, saying, “The whole thing seems a publicity effort.” He said while serving under threat in J&K to say that Rushdie should have come. “While I was posted in J&K, I was told that I should not even move out of my house. But I had to do my job.”

Poet Manzar Bhopali mocked the mullahs, saying they were opposing Rushdie without even reading his books.

“The book describes the Holy Kaba and the Prophet in extremely derogatory terms.” Mumbai lawyer Yusuf Muchala said he had read ‘The Satanic Verses’ and found it “offensive”. But he insisted that Rushdie should not be banned from the fest where he was to discuss literature.

END OF REPORT

JLF – Thugs prevent Live Video Link featuring Rushdie!

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So finally the largest democracy in the world, India, succumbs to the threats of a minority. India you have fallen in the eyes of the world. You are not a democratic nation because your politicians pimp for votes from the Muslim minority. Your politicians play the caste card every time elections come round. Hang your head in shame.

Further, the Rajasthan government should have protected the Jaipur Literary Festival participants, as well as, the visitors. But from media reports it appears that they have orchestrated this drama to appease the Muslim Voters in U.P.

Today we witness the death of free speech in India.

NEW REPORT

Controversial author Salman Rushdie’s video conference at the Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur has been called off finally after much flip flop over it in Jaipur. The much awaited video address by controversial author Salman Rushdie came under a cloud again following protests by

Earlier, producer of the festival Sanjoy Roy had said Rushdie’s address was on as scheduled.

Nearly 30 angry representatives of various Islamic organisations in Jaipur tried to enter the venue of the festival on Tuesday noon in protest against the video address by Rushdie, author of the banned book The Satanic Verses.

The protesters led by All India Milli Council leader, Paiker Farukh, a lawyer, who alleged that “the festival was trying to portray author Salman Rushdie as a hero”.

“We have every right to protest in a democratic manner and if the Muslim population of Jaipur comes out in protest, you cannot prevent us. You cannot take us for a ride… we are not fools,” Farukh told the media outside the venue at Diggi Palace.

The Muslim organisations had filed a petition at the court of an executive magistrate in Jaipur seeking a directive against Rushdie’s address following which the court had summoned four organisers of the festival. But the organisers failed to turn up, a representative of the Muslim delegation said.

Police were summoned to placate the protesters. The commissioner of police reassured the protesters that their interests would be taken into account.

“We don’t know about the fate of Rushdie’s video address,” a member of the core committee of the organisers then said.

Rushdie had called off his visit to Jaipur citing threats to his life from “paid assassins”. But later he accused Rajasthan Police of hatching a plot about hitmen to keep him away from the festival where he was expected to be the star attraction. Some Muslim groups had also protested his proposed visit. But then the festival organisers said he would address the festival through a video link.

At 12 noon Tuesday, Roy, the producer of the festival, had said, “We are going ahead with the link at 3.45 pm, it will be the session originally planned — Midnight’s Child — and his book’s adaptation and his life and works and the problems he has faced in the past years.

END OF REPORT

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