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No restrictions on freedom of expression in Delhi: Culture Minister

Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra said no restrictions will be imposed on anything that any individual has to say, write or even sing in Delhi.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
January 8, 2016 9:20:36 pm

Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra on Friday encouraged literary voices to write freely about contemporary issues without fear or favour, in order to promote a free and fair society.

“People who can unite society with their writings and those who can understand why stones started arriving in January 2016 in Ayodhya, they should articulate and write freely about such issues in order to discourage divisive elements in society,” Mishra said while inaugurating the fourth edition of the Delhi Literature Festival.

Mishra was referring to the recent arrival of truckload of stones that arrived in Ayodhya, about six months after the VHP had announced its nationwide drive to collect them for construction of Ram temple in the temple town.

Referring to the disquiet among the intellectuals, writers and artistes who had protested against the “rising intolerance” last year, the minister said no restrictions will be imposed on anything that any individual has to say, write or even sing in Delhi.

“I don’t have much understanding of literature but as a Minister for art, culture, language and tourism, I can assure you that irrespective of what you write or how you write it; who you applaud and who you criticise, if what you say has a valid point, the entire Delhi government will stand by your side. You have the full liberty to write and say anything you want,” he said.

Alluding to the incident where Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in India was cancelled last year, Mishra said that the country had “enough of who can come and who cannot come into the country.”

“Those who should have been stopped have managed to come to Pathankot but Ghulam Ali sahab was not allowed to perform in the country. A strange environment has been created and this needs to be changed.

“These barriers should be kept away from the world of writers, thinkers and artistes. With the kind of environment that has been created in the country, it is the people with pens and voices who are the need of the hour rather than politicians like me,” he said.

Mishra hailed the role of technology, particularly social media like Facebook and Whatsapp as a great boon for aspiring writers.

“We don’t need to ask whether we will be published or not. Even if there are four lines that will touch millions of people in a matter of hours through a Facebook post.

Technology has given us the opportunity to read what strangers write from dusk to dawn,” he said.

The minister also called upon the younger generation to share their expectations in the field of literature with the government.

“Any dream that you might have as a young writer or as a denizen of this city, about any new innovations that can be done in the field of literature or art and culture, share it with me and my government without any hesitation. If there is something that is required to bring about a change, I can promise that the Delhi government will realise that dream,” Mishra, who arrived at the venue on a motorbike in view of the ‘odd-even’ formula being followed in the city, said.

The evening also saw publishing giants from country’s leading publishing houses like Harper Collins, Penguin India, Om Books International and Red Ink sharing the tricks of the trade with aspiring writers, providing them with useful insights and advice on how to get their writings published, besides a session on the Aarushi murder case and the death of Subhash Chandra Bose.

The evening came to a close with a live performance by Aanch, a city-based band which entertained visitors with their sufi, fusion and Bollywood mixes.

The literary event is set to conclude on January 10.

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