New Delhi/Jaipur: Sociologist Ashis Nandy on Tuesday denied receiving any summons from Rajasthan Police and said that he was ready to be jailed for his comment. "If at 75 I am tried under the atrocities act and convicted then I'll go to jail, I'll not contest it because I have worked for Dalits and adivasis for 45 years and I am not going to take this insult. I will go to jail," he said.
Earlier, reports came that Rajasthan Police had summoned Nandy for questioning in connection with the controversial remark he made against the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Saturday.
An FIR was lodged against him under Section 506 IPC (Criminal Intimidation) and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. During a session at the JLF in Jaipur, Nandy had said that it was a fact that "most of the corrupt come from OBCs and Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the Scheduled Tribes".
Though Nandy later apologised saying that he was sorry if he was "misunderstood", his statement stirred up a controversy inviting reactions from across political parties who condemned his comment and demanded action against him. An all-party delegation, comprising leaders of the MNS, the Shiv Sena, the BJP, the RPI and Dalit organisations - under the banner of the Bahujan Samaj Sangharsh Samiti - had submitted a memorandum to police seeking registration of complaint against the author. The delegation also submitted the petition to Divisional Commissioner Ravindra Jadhav.
Reacting to the controversy, National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairman PL Punia on Monday said that Nandy had committed a crime and should be arrested. Lok Sabha Speaker and Dalit leader Meira Kumar too in a hard-hitting comment said that the caste system was worse than slavery because slaves can at least be free, while there is no freedom from the caste system.
Prominent Dalit activist Kancha Ilaiyah has, however, taken a more conciliatory stance. He said that even though Professor Nandy's comment was bad, his intentions were good. "As he is not against reservation, the controversy should end," Ilaiyah said.
But standing by his comment, Nandy in an interview to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai said that he said nothing wrong and his statement was pro-Dalit. "I don't feel hounded and frightened because I know if people read the script of what I said, or even see the video they will know that even the statement they are quoting frequently was part of an aggressively pro-Dalit, pro-OBC plea. I did stand by them and I do want to stand by them."