New Delhi: The Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, the city based writer’s forum, the Forum for Freedom of Expression and other organisations came in support of the ‘Bahujan- Shraman’ issue of FORWARD Press, and condemned the police raids against it today.
On the evening of October 9, the special branch of the Delhi police had raided the office of FORWARD Press on the basis of a complaint made in the Vasant Kunj police station which claims that FORWARD Press had published objectionable material about the Hindu deity Durga, on the basis of which students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) were organising ‘Mahishasur Martyrdom Day’.
Terming the raid by Delhi police as a “matter of deep concern”, the forum said that the police took these actions without order of any court or competent authority and said it deserves outright condemnation.
The latest issue of FORWARD Press, an independent Delhi based anti-caste magazine is focussed on Bahujan-Shraman tradition. The issue carries articles that interpret the Puranic story of the killing of Mahishasur by Durga as a struggle between the Aryans and the non-Aryans. “This may have angered the Hindutvadis, who have been routinely indulging in vandalism in the name of hurting religious sentiments,” the forum claimed.
“The Janwadi Lekhak Sangh strongly condemns the action against the magazine without any proper court order and views it as a violation of the fundamental right of freedom of expression. We also condemn the violence indulged in by the ABVP activists during the observance of ‘Mahishasur Martyrdom Day’ at JNU.”
“The Delhi police action and the ABVP vandalism are closely interlinked and manifest the growing assertiveness of the reactionary, communal-fascist forces since the Modi government coming to power and the aid being extended to them by the government machinery,” alleged the Forum in its press address.
The Forum demanded that action should be taken against police officials who ordered and conducted the illegal raid on FORWARD Press. It also called for “action” against those who do not “believe in expression of dissent while sticking to democratic norms.”
“VHP leader Praveen Togadia’s recent statement that history books written by Romila Thapar and Bipin Chandra should be burnt is an example of such tendencies.”
Om Sudha, the Convenor of ‘Forum for Freedom of Expression’, has asked the Home Ministry to immediately withdraw the FIR lodged against FORWARD Press.