The writer’s forum Janwadi Lekhak Sangh and other organisations have come in the support of Bahujan- Shraman issue of the magazine Forward Press and condemned the police action against the publication calling it against freedom of writing. Meanwhile, forum for freedom of expression organized a protest march in Bhagalpur Bihar in which Om Sudha, the convenor of forum asked the Home ministry to withdraw the FIR lodged against Forward Press. This is to bring to light that Special Branch of Delhi Police had conducted a raid at the Nehru Place office of monthly ‘Forward’ Press on October 9, in which four of its staffers were arrested and the copies of the magazine were confiscated. It is claimed that the took these actions without order of any court or competent authority. It is said that the action was taken on the basis of a complaint registered at the Vasant Kunj police station.
The press release issued by the organization claims that the action was taken on the instance of a right wing student’s organization. It says that a group of right wing students have sent one another application to the Vasant Kunj Police Station, for taking action against the artist of the illustration, who made his own interpretation of Durga Myth. The applicants have asked the police to take action against the writer of the article in contention.
The latest issue of the magazine had focussed on Bahujan-Shraman tradition. The issue carried articles that interpreted the Puranic story of the killing of Mahishasur by Durga as a struggle between the Aryans and the non-Aryans. It is alleged that this “angered the Hindutvadis, who have been routinely indulging in vandalism in the name of hurting religious sentiments.”
The release claim that on the evening of October 9, activists of RSS’ students’ wing ABVP had tried to block the organizing of ‘Mahishasur Martyrdom Day’ function at JNU. It says that “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.”
Janwadi Lekhak Sangh further writes: We condemn “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. Action should, in fact, be taken 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.”