Panelists withdraw from New York Literature Festival after call for protests due to the presence of BJP leader


By Muslim Mirror Web

Following news that a representative of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be attending this year’s JLF events in New York City, activists and writers have informed Middle East Eye that the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) is normalising Hindutva in the United States.

Authors Marie Brenner and Amy Waldman were among the panellists who reportedly withdrew from the JLF as of Tuesday morning in response to requests by activists and writers to boycott the event due to the participation of Shazia Ilmi, a national BJP spokesperson.

Although Brenner and Waldman were no longer on the schedule as of Tuesday, they are still listed as speakers on the festival website.

Manash Pratim Deka from JLF New York declined to tell if anyone had withdrawn from the event.

Ilmi, a Muslim leader in the BJP, said that she was unaware that speakers had withdrawn because of her attendance. Ilmi is slated to speak at the closing ceremony late on Wednesday night and take part in a panel on Wednesday in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, several organizations in New York have called for a protest against Ilmi’s participation in the event. The protesting organizations included Majlis Ash-Shura, New York– Islamic Leadership Council of New York, MWK, South Asian Solidarity Initiative (SASI) and No Seperate Justice.

“Ilmi supports Muslim genocide,” the organizers said.

“The values of the fascist BJP are not New York values,” activist Aatish Taseer said, while extending support to the protests.


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