Jaipur: A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against Ashis Nandy under the SC/ST Act for his offensive remarks against Dalits and other backward castes. The sociologist and political psychologist could face up to 10 years imprisonment, if convicted.
The organiser of the Jaipur Literature Festival, during which Nandy made the controversial comment, has also been booked. The organiser, Sanjoy Roy, had defended Nandy's statements.
Nandy, who later apologised for his remarks, had said on Saturday that, "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."
However, later, at a press conference, Nandy had sought to clarify his remarks by claiming his comments were misquoted. "I agree that corruption is an equalising force in our country. What I meant was that when poor people, 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. "I want to close this chapter here now," he added.
The row over Nandy's comments gained traction when the Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati called for legal action against him. She claimed Nandy intended to create tensions in the communities by making such remarks. "The organisers of Jaipur Literature Festival should throw Nandy out," the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister had added.
Other political parties also condemned the comments and lashed out against Nandy. 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 also condemned Nandy's statement asking, "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."
Nandy had earlier, however, stood by his statement. "Let the police take action against me. I stand by what I have said," he had said. The festival organiser Roy had defended Nandy saying his statement had been taken out of context. "He said where there is so much difference between rich and poor, there is corruption. It is his personal statement," he said.