Mumbai: Stating that rebellion is the right of every artist, veteran actor and filmmaker Girish Karnad today said reading or possessing books on Naxalism is not a crime. The 74-year-old playwright said Aseem Trivedi, the political cartoonist who was charged with sedition by Mumbai Police, and human rights activist Binayak Sen, accused by the Chhattisgarh Government of having links with Naxals, received different treatment in the cases in which they were arrested.
"Aseem Trivedi was granted bail soon after he gathered support from various sections of the society. On the other hand, Binayak Sen was refused bail on several occasions," Karnad said.
He was speaking at a programme organised by the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) here this evening. KKM is a cultural group consisting of Dalit protest singers and poets.
Two activists of the Manch were arrested by Maharashtra Police last year for alleged Naxal links. Calling the people associated with the organisation as rebellious and enemy of the state is unfair, the award-winning playwright maintained.
"Lokmanya Tilak said Swaraj is my birthright. I would say rebellion is the right of every artist. An independent individual has every right to be rebellious."
Karnad said there is no exact definition of Naxalism and Maoism. Claiming that he reads a lot on Maoism, the filmmaker questioned, "Does that mean I am a Maoist?"
"I have many books on Naxalism and Maoism. If reading books on Maoist ideology is a crime, then I am also a Maoist," he stated.