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Calcutta Club's Cancellation of Kashmir Discussion Sparks Anger

What was to be an event attended by the Bengal intelligentsia at the Calcutta Club on January 7 has been cancelled due to alleged pressure from the Kolkata Police. Organisers of the panel discussion titled The Saga of Balochistan and Kashmir were informed in an email by the club authorities on January 4 that the programme at the club premises stands cancelled due to “unavoidable circumstances”.

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:January 5, 2017, 6:33 PM IST
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Calcutta Club's Cancellation of Kashmir Discussion Sparks Anger
The event was to be held at Calcutta Club on January 7.
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Kolkata: What was to be an event attended by the Bengal intelligentsia at the Calcutta Club on January 7 has been cancelled due to alleged pressure from the Kolkata Police. Organisers of the panel discussion titled The Saga of Balochistan and Kashmir were informed in an email by the club authorities on January 4 that the programme at the club premises stands cancelled due to “unavoidable circumstances”.

The event speakers — Pakistani author Tarik Fateh, activist Sushil Pandit, Major General GD Bakshi and Baloch activist Brahmadagh Bugti — are crying foul. The organisers of the event, Swadhikar Bangla Foundation, feel this is an attempt to silence the voices on an issue which is seen as controversial. The club authorities asked the organisers to drop the word ‘Kashmir’ from the posters.

Calcutta Club authorities also said they were called to the Kolkata Police headquarters at Lalbazar and pressurised to drop the event. The CEO and secretary Ranjit Dutta who sent the email to the organisers was unavailable for a comment.

The Kolkata Police on their part had received a formal submission on the first day of the event, which had international guests as panelists. But a day later, the Kolkata Police received a letter saying the event was cancelled.

Reacting to the cancellation, Pakistani author Tarik Fateh tweeted: “Afraid of Islamists, Mamata Government forces cancellation of Tarik fateh’s talks on Balochistan.”

In a Facebook post, Major General GD Bakshi said: “It said even Baluchistan could not be discussed! This is putting CURBS on the right to FREE SPEECH guaranteed by the Constitution of India. These are vital national security issues that merit debate and discussion. Why is the State Govt of Bengal Stopping this? We would like to know the reasons. (sic)”

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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