Author’s Indore speech on religious harmony quashed citing ‘government ordinances’

New Delhi: An event in Indore featuring author Shamsul Islam, author Ashok Pandey and Congressman Digvijaya Singh was canceled a day before it was due to take place, citing government orders.

Islam, the author of several books on Indian politics, communalism, political history and the role of religious nationalism, is on tour during which he has delivered speeches on the need for religious harmony, NDTV reported.

Islam had previously taught at Delhi University and is a noted activist. He said NDTV that he has already spoken at 20 places in Bhopal but has not yet been arrested till Indore.

India time reported that Congress State Spokesman Aminul Khan Suri, who sent out the invitations for the conference, said the event was aimed at “starting a process to give positivity and harmony to the society”.

The state’s Textile Development Trust, which operates the auditorium where the event was supposed to have taken place, wrote to organizers saying the conference should be canceled. His secretary, a certain MC Rawat, said NDTV that they had “information from the administration that the program cannot take place here”.

Insisting on the government’s last word on the matter, Rawat said NDTV that if the government asked him to return his office, he should do so.

The owner of the auditorium told the conference organizers that it could not take place in this room “for unavoidable reasons”.

Lola R. McClure