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Nandy leaves Jaipur Literature Festival

Posted on Jan 28, 11:04AM | IBNS

Sociologist and political critic Ashis Nandy left the Jaipur Literature Festival on Sunday, a day after he landed himself in a cesspool of controversy for saying that Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) were the most corrupt, triggering angry reactions and lodging of an FIR against him that could see him behind bars.

Reports said police were seeking the video of Nandy's session at the festival where he made the remark.

The FIR was filed by Dalit leader Kirorilal Meena at the Ashok Nagar police station here. It has been lodged under SC/ST Act and the punishment under it can be up to 10 years in jail. It is also a non-bailable offence.

There has been a clamour for his arrest soon after the remarks and Dalit leaders like Mayawati said he should be put behind bars as soon as possible.

He was later taken out of the venue by the back door, reports said.

"It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBCs and the Schedule Castes, and now increasingly from the Schedule Tribes (STs), and as long as this is the case, Indian Republic will survive," was the controversial remark of Nandy.

But he soon retracted and said he was misunderstood.

"I am sorry if some have misunderstood me though there is no reason to do so," he said apologizing.

"This is not what I meant or what I wanted to say," he said adding that if SC/ST people indulge in corruption it is more obvious while the corruption by the well off or rich were overlooked.

He said he wants to close the chapter but protests continued.

Nandy was the Director of the New Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) for several years and presently he is a Senior Honorary Fellow at the institute and apart from being the Chairperson of the Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures.

Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati said the Rajasthan government should take action against Nandy for his statement.

"The Rajasthan government should take action against this man," Mayawati told media.

"It seems that he has lost his mental balance," she said.

"The organisers of Jaipur Literature Festival should throw him out," Mayawati said.

Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed Nandy for his statement.

"I don't know why he has said it. But no one approves such statements. It is wrong," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told media.

BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said Nandy should 'tender his apology' and withdraw his statement.

Festival organiser Sanjoy Roy, however, said it seemed that Nandy's statement was taken out of context.

"I have heard that his saying has been taken out of context. He said that where there is so much difference between rich and poor, there is corruption. It is his personal statement," Roy told media.

The DSC Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 started in Rajasthan's capital Jaipur from Thursday.

The festival will continue till Jan 28 at Diggi Palace in the Pink City.

Jaipur Literature Festival is considered by some as the greatest literary show on earth.