Srinagar, July 10, 2014 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, the authorities have banned a lecture by internationally-acclaimed author, researcher and scholar, Professor Mridu Rai, which she was scheduled to deliver at a hotel in Srinagar.
Professor Mridu Rai, a US-based academician, was scheduled to deliver a lecture on ‘Languages of Violence, Languages of Justice: the State and Insurgent Kashmir’ an annual talk organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) to pay tributes to late Pt Rughonath Vaishnavi, a well known Kashmiri Pandit politician and an ardent supporter of Kashmir freedom movement.
The author of the book “Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects”, Professor Mridu Rai, while addressing a press conference at a public park in Srinagar termed the ban on her lecture as appalling. “If the government considers a talk by an academician like me as dangerous, then the state is in for a trouble. My voice is being silenced. It is ridiculous,” she stated. Rai further said that the greatest violence could be done was to silence people.
The JKCCS Convener, Khurram Parvez, told mediamen that at the last moment the puppet authorities threatened action against the hotel. “The hotel management informed us that police threatened them that action will be taken against the hotel if we allowed the event to take place,” he said. Khurram Parvez said, under the law, there is no requirement for any permission for holding such an event at a private hotel. “This ban is consistent with the authorities’ policy of disallowing academic, cultural and political activities in Kashmir,” he added.
The JKCCS Convener said that the annual talk was a tribute to one of Kashmir’s unsung heroes, Pt Rughonath Vaishnavi, who had fought for the Kashmir cause and was jailed seven times for his commitment to the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
On the occasion, daughter of Pandit Rughonath Vaishnavi, Poornima Bhan, besides members of civil society including Z G Muhammad, Dr Altaf Hussain, Dr Abdul Majeed Zargar and Professor Hameeda Nayeem were also present.
Meanwhile, social media users condemned the authorities for imposing ban on the Pt Rughonath Vaishnavi Annual Talk. “Crazy politics! Crazy democracy! Sadly impact massively and negatively on the lives of the oppressed, poor and innocent…Always,” a Facebook user wrote in reaction to the move.
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