New Delhi/Jaipur: Sharp reactions continued to pour in even two days after sociologist Ashis Nandy made a controversial remark against SC, ST and OBC at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Condemning Nandy's statement, National Commission for Scheduled Caste chairman PL Punia said on Monday that Nandy had committed a crime and should be arrested. He also slammed the Rajasthan government and police for not taking prompt action against him.
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.
Meanwhile, police will on Monday question the organisers of the Jaipur Literature Festival - Sanjoy Roy, William Dalrymple and Namita Gohkale - on the controversial statement made by sociologist Ashis Nandy at the event. Nandy stirred up a controversy on Saturday after he allegedly said that people from OBC, SC and ST communities were the "most corrupt". He later apologised for his statement saying he wanted the "chapter to be closed".
Hours after he made the remark, an FIR was lodged against him under Section 506 IPC (Criminal Intimidation) and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Nandy's statement was also condemned by many political leaders. While Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that Nandy's comment was an example of "mental bankruptcy", Prakash Ambedkar - grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar - termed it "intellectual bankruptcy".
Few authors, poets and critics, however, came forward in Nandy's support saying the matter should not be politicised. "If we go by the one statement flashed on news channels, he made unfair comments. I have not heard the original talk but as later explained by Nandy if the context is taken into consideration, then there is nothing wrong," said author Makarand Sathe. Poet and critic Ashok Vajpeyi said Nandy was a serious thinker and had made the comments in a certain context. "The context is being by-passed which is unfortunate. We are becoming intolerant. Everybody has a right to disagree but the matter being politicised and politicians demanding action is unfair," he said.
Earlier, 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, submitted a memorandum to police seeking registration of complaint against the author. "The delegation handed over the memorandum to ACP Ganesh Shinde at Sarkarwada police station seeking registration of the complaint against Nandy under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act", Nashik district RPI president Prakash Londhe said.
The delegation also submitted the petition to Divisional Commissioner Ravindra Jadhav. "We have received the memorandum. Police will decide on registration of offence under the Atrocities Act against Nandy after studying his comments", an officer from Sarkarwada police station said. Meanwhile, leaders of various political parties formed 'Bahujan Samaj Sangharsh Samiti' at a meeting held at Bhujbal Farm, NCP MP Sameer Bhujbal said in a press release.