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Poet Srijato heckled by Hindu extremists at Silchar event

Poet Srijato heckled by Hindu extremists at Silchar event

Kolkata: Poet Srijato Bandyopadhyay who had been heckled and harassed by some Hindu extremists in Assam's Silchar on Saturday, voiced his protest after arriving in the city on Sunday morning. He said that what he experienced there was just an expression of rising levels of intolerance across the country.

He also clarified that the freedom of expression prevails in Bengal while there is a growing level of intolerance outside the state. "The artistes have the freedom of expression here in the state whereas in other states security issues are there," Srijato said after returning to Kolkata.

Bandyopadhyay also said that he was worried over the incidents where the poets and novelists were being attacked. If the situation continues it would have an adverse impact on the tradition and culture of the country, he added.

Bandyopadhyay was in Silchar to participate in an event organised by a city-based cultural group at a hotel. The poet said a group of people staged protest against him when he was taking part in the programme on Saturday evening. Srijato had to remain confined in his hotel room for nearly two hours as they were agitating outside the hotel. However, the agitators were not carrying any political flags, the poet added. It is suspected that the members of some Hindutva organisation staged the protest against the Bengali poet. Some others suspect that the group might have been protesting against his poem Abhishap.

Srijato also maintained that the local organisers asked the group members not to create trouble. An altercation also broke out between the organisers and the protestors following which a mob ransacked a portion of the hotel on Saturday evening. The crowd surrounded the hotel and raised slogans. After being informed, the police intervened and rescued him from the hotel after two hours and took him to the Circuit House.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who was worried over the situation called up the poet and inquired about the incident.

Poets like Subodh Sarkar, Joy Goswami, Tilottoma Majumar and Mandakranta Sen and theatre personality Koushik Sen condemned the incident.

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