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Jan 26, 2013 at 11:07pm IST

JLF: Ashis Nandy apologises for remarks against Dalits, faces jail

Jaipur: Sociologist and political psychologist Ashis Nandy kicked up a storm at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Saturday when he claimed Dalits and other backward castes are responsible for corruption in the country. Nandy is now facing up to 10 years imprisonment for his controversial remarks, after an FIR was filed against him under the SC/ST Act.

Political parties lashed out against Nandy following his comments, with Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Lok Janshakti Party President Ram Vilas Paswan demanding legal action against him. Nandy apologised later in the day for his comments and also sought to clarify himself claiming he was "misquoted".

Nandy defended himself saying he only meant to say that corruption by Dalits was noticed more while corruption by rich in the society went unnoticed. He also said he was sorry if his comments hurt anybody's sentiments.

"I agree that corruption is an equalising force in our country. What I meant was that when poor people, or SC/ST people do corruption, it is more apparent," Nandy said. "If people have misunderstood, I apologise. What I said was that corruption of rich people is often overlooked," Nandy defended.

Nandy had reportedly said, "It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBC and the Scheduled Caste sections, and now the Scheduled Tribes. The maximum amount of corruption these days is by Dalits, the backward and the oppressed classes."

Other political parties also condemned Nandy's remarks. Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, "I don't know why he has said it. But no one approves such statements." Bharatiya Janata Party leader Najma Heptullah said, "It is wrong on his part to do so. I don't want to comment about corruption being conducted by the SC, ST or the Dalits. It's very wrong to pass such a comment."

Dalit writer Chandrabhan Prasad demanded, "Has there been a survey or a data or any evidence that proves OBC and SC/ST are more corrupt? If there is no such survey or evidence then such statements should not be passed. That means he is misusing his intellectual power, like others have misused their power."

The organiser of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Sanjoy Roy, who had defended Nandy, has also been booked. "He said where there is so much difference between rich and poor, there is corruption. It is his personal statement," he said.