International PEN have sent a formal letter to PM Manmohan Singh, raising their concerns about the government's failure to support Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen and the Jaipur protest writers, and calling on them to reaffirm their commitment to freedom of expression.
"PEN is deeply concerned about the likelihood of legal proceedings against writers Ruchir Joshi, Amitava Kumar, Hari Kunzru, and Jeet Thayil, who chose to protest the enforced absence of Salman Rushdie at the Jaipur festival by reading passages from his novel The Satanic Verses, and festival organizers William Dalrymple, Namita Gokhale, and Sanjoy Roy. All face possible legal proceedings in Rajasthan state and elsewhere for allegedly ‘hurting religious sentiments’ and ‘disrupting communal harmony’. We strongly urge you to send a clear signal that their actions are a legitimate, fully protected form of freedom of expression, and to re-examine and either update or eliminate colonial era laws purporting to preserve communal harmony."
- 22nd February 2012