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Bengali poet attacked by right wing extremists in Silchar, event cancelled

Kolkata: Poet Srijato Bandyopadhyay came back to Kolkata on Sunday morning after facing the wrath of Hindutva forces in Silchar, Assam. On Saturday, right-wing activists of Silchar, Assam protested against the poet, who was there to participate in a recitation programme called Esho Boli.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee come forward in support of the poet. Srijato has been assured of every possible help by the chief minister. She personally called up the poet and assured to be by his side and had even inquired about his well-being.

CPIM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has condemned the incident and stated that incidence of intolerance is on rise, which is not acceptable at all.

The poet had been in the wrong book of the right wing protestors after he had penned a poem – Abhishap, just after Yogi Adityanath’s inflammatory speech, in which he talked about raping dead Muslim women in their graves.

Amake dhorshon korbe joddin kobor theke tule (till the time you rape after digging me out of my grave)
condom porano thakbe, tomar oi dhormer trishule! (Till then the trident of yours will be seen wearing a condom)

– (Abhishap, Srijato Banerjee)

These two lines of his poem had courted controversy and invited the ire of Hindu extremists.

Recalling the moment, while speaking to eNewsroom, Srijato, said, “After about 45 minutes, we saw few people coming towards the stage and demanding the reason for my presence. The organisers tried to pacify the protestors saying no controversial comments will be made during the event. This got them so agitated that the verbal altercation intensified to such an extent that even the hotel had been vandalised. These right-wing activists even staged a protest outside the hotel, which eventually forced the organisers to cancel the event.”

A visibly disturbed Srijato added, “This has happened with me in my country, right outside my state. For the past four years, we have been witnessing similar intolerant attitude.”

The literary world has condemned the incident. Indologist Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri condemned the incident. “This form of extremist nationalism was never an Indian thing,” said Bhaduri.

Poet Subodh Sarkar said, “This is the true face of the Central government. For the past four and a half years, this is what they have been doing – propagating fear. Government at the centre is anti-intellectual so we have witnessed the assassinations of Gauri Lankesh, Pansar and many others. They are trying to erase the voice of the dissent, the voice of plurality. What happened in Silchar is a part of the whole mechanism.”

This is not the first time that Srijato has earned the ire of the Hindu extremists. Unhappy with his poems, Hindu extremists had filed FIR twice in Bengal, itself.

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