JLF stands for diversity, say organisers on inclusion of RSS leaders

New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) After being criticised over the inclusion of RSS leaders Manmohan Vaidya and Dattatreya Hosabale in the upcoming edition of Jaipur Literature Festival, the organisers said that the event has always “stood for diversity of ideas, languages, nationalities and subjects.”

“The festival has always been inclusive and welcomed plurality in opinion and often opposing viewpoints, to be expressed without discrimination. This is neither the first nor the last instance where we have welcomed speakers from the right, left and centre and allowed our audiences to form their own views at the end of each session of debate and discussion”, the organisers said on Thursday evening.

Vaidya is the head of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s communications department, while Hosabale is a joint general secretary.

Apart from the inclusion of RSS leaders, the upcoming event has also drawn criticism due to absence of writers like Ashok Vajpeyi, Uday Prakash and K. Satchidanandan, who were prominent faces of “award-wapsi” protest last year.

The organisers said that the 2017 edition is going to be “no different in featuring multiple voices and viewpoints” across genres collectively on one platform.

“The festival continues to uphold and celebrate its core values which place equity, democratic access and free speech above all. It strongly believes that for dialogue to be meaningful, we must have representation from all points of view”, the organisers added.

The literary event is scheduled to take place from January 19 to 23 next year.