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PTI Kolkata
Updated: 13-01-2019 22:11 IST

Bengali poet Srijato

Bandyopadhyay, whose presence at a literary event in Assam's

Silchar created a controversy, on Sunday alleged that freedom

of expression in the country is under "increasing threat".

Bandyopadhyay, who was at Silchar in Barak Valley, to

attend a literary discussion on Saturday evening, faced

protests from a group for his 2017 poem titled 'Abhishaap'

(Curse), officials said.

"I am shocked. I had not anticipated there will be

such an incident in a place like Silchar. There was no inkling

beforehand... There is an increasing effort to curb freedom of

expression in the country," he told reporters here.

Bandyopadhyay said during the function, a group of

people, sitting among the audience, stood up, started shouting

slogans against the poem and even tried to vandalise hotel


"The protesters, who did not carry any party flag or

banner, then laid the hotel under siege for two-and-half-hours

demanding I leave the place immediately. They were finally

dispersed by the police force," the poet said.

He said while there was no threat to freedom of

expression in West Bengal, he is concerned about the situation

in rest of the country.

"We are increasingly moving into an intolerant society

where some people will always stop you from speaking your mind

and take away your right to freedom of speech," Bandyopadhyay


Coming out in support of Bandyopadhyay, Jnanpith

awardee and poet Shankha Ghosh said all right-thinking people

should resist the attempts to "muzzle artistic freedom".

Poet Subodh Sarkar said writers in the city will hit

the streets to protest the "fascist" forces who want to invoke

darkness in the country.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)