Jaipur police summon Ashis Nandy to explain alleged anti-Dalit remarks

Jaipur police summon Ashis Nandy to explain alleged anti-Dalit remarks
Jaipur:  Jaipur police investigating sociologist Ashis Nandy's alleged castetist remarks at the Jaipur Literature Festival last week have summoned him to the city for questioning "at the earliest". A city police personnel has been sent to Delhi to serve the summons in person to Mr Nandy.

Rajpal Meena, Chairperson of the SC/ST Rajasthan Manch, who had filed a complaint against Mr Nandy on Saturday met with the police and recorded his statement today.

The festival's producer, Sanjoy Roy, will also be questioned today by the police. "We served summons to the organiser but he was busy with the event and could not turn up yesterday. He has been called today for further investigation," a police officer said.

On Monday, organisers of the Jaipur Literature Festival signed an undertaking not to leave the city till police investigations in this case are complete. Mr Roy told NDTV, "We have handed over a recording of Mr Nandy's comments and a transcript that place them in context." This CD is being sent for forensic investigation.

Last week, in a panel discussion at the festival, Mr Nandy said, "Most corrupt people come from Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes."

His remarks stirred a controversy, and Mr Nandy soon issued a clarification saying he was trying to make the point that corruption among Dalits was noticeable, while that of the rich was not.

Mr Nandy told NDTV yesterday that he may have chosen the wrong words but that the thrust of his argument was not wrong. He asserted that says his comments were actually "pro-Dalit and were taken out of context".

A First Information Report or FIR  was registered against Mr Nandy on Saturday by Rajpal Meena, Chairperson of the SC/ST Rajasthan Manch. Mr Nandy has been charged with criminal intimidation under section 506 of the Indian Penal Code. He has also been booked under section 3 of the SC/ST Act for "intentional insult or intimidation with intent to humiliate member of SC or ST ", which is a non-bailable charge. If found guilty, he could face up to two years in jail.

Mr Nandy has issued a public apology and clarification, in which he said, "I also said that if people like me or Richard Sorabjee want to be corrupt, I shall possibly send his son to Harvard giving him a fellowship and he can send my daughter to Oxford. No one will think it to be corruption. Indeed, it will look like supporting talent.  But when Dalits, tribals and the OBCs are corrupt, it looks very corrupt indeed."

Even as critics slam Mr Nandy for his remarks, support for him has come in from various quarters. Noted Dalit activist and writer, Kancha Iliah, who was present in the audience when Mr Nandy made the remarks, spoke in his defence yesterday. "Ashis Nandy made a bad statement with good intentions. The controversy should end here," Mr Ilaiah said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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