Police deny permission for Sringeri lit fest; organisers say they will go ahead

C.T. Ravi

C.T. Ravi   | Photo Credit: H.S. Manjunath


The two-day event is being crowdfunded after being denied support by KSP

The Sringeri police have denied the Chikkamagaluru district unit of Kannada Sahitya Parishat (KSP) the permission to hold Kannada Sahitya Sammelan in the town on January 10 and 11. However, the district unit has decided to go ahead with the programme.

The event has been controversial with Minister for Kannada and Culture C.T. Ravi and some right-wing groups opposing the selection of Kalkuli Vittala Heggade as the sammelan president.

In a letter to Kundur Ashok, president of the district unit of KSP, Sringeri circle Police Inspector Siddaramaiah B.M. said the application seeking permission to hold the sammelan has been rejected and directed him to postpone the event, citing possible law and order issues. “In case you hold the programme and there are any untoward incidents, legal action will be taken holding you as directly responsible,” said the letter. It also cited protests opposing the selection of Mr. Heggade. There had been a tense situation across the country over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and protests were held in Chikkamagaluru too. There would be chances of law and order issues during the event too, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

However, Mr. Ashok told The Hindu that the event would be held as per schedule. “I spoke to the SP of Chikkamagaluru. I have told him that the programme will be peaceful. We have sought police protection for the event,” he said.

Earlier, the central unit of KSP had refused to give ₹5 lakh grant to hold the sammelan, citing Mr. Ravi’s direction. The Minister has criticised the selection of Mr. Heggade as president of the event and said he would support it if he is replaced. The Chikkamagaluru unit of the parishat has crowdfunded resources to hold the sammelana.

Former KSP president and writer Chandrashekhar Patil, writer Baraguru Ramachandrappa and others have criticised the parishat for its stand. Former CM Siddaramaiah criticised Mr. Ravi for his “interference” in the affairs of the parishat, an independent body.

Mr. Ashok said the local committee had been raising funds for the event. “So far, ₹2 lakh has been collected. Our office-bearers are spending from their pockets for the time being,” he said. Many guests have told the organisers that they would attend the event without expecting travel expenses. Interestingly, some have offered to contribute their share to the event.

‘Sammelan will be historic, thanks to opponents’

“The sahitya sammelan at Sringeri will be historic, thanks to all its opponents,” said Mr. Heggade, whose choice as president of the 16th Chikkamagaluru District Kannada Sahitya Sammelan has blown into a controversy.

Kalkuli Vittala Heggade.

Kalkuli Vittala Heggade.  


Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Heggade said he never expected to be chosen for this honour. However, he accepted after the executive committee of the district unit of the parishat approached him after selecting him unanimously. If there was no opposition and non-cooperation from the district administration and Central Kannada Sahitya Parishat, this too would have been any other sammelan. “After the parishat refused to give financial assistance, people have come forward to make it a success with their contributions. I am glad a dailywage worker contributed ₹1,000 citing my role in the struggle to save the Tunga and Bhadra rivers,” he said.

Commenting on the allegation that he was a “naxal supporter”, Mr. Heggade said it was a baseless charge. In 2002, the then State government released a list of names terming them “naxal supporters” and withdrew it within two days. “I have fought against a couple of publications for reports calling me a naxal supporter and won the case in court. I have never associated with naxals,” he said.

C.T. Ravi opposes selection of Kalkuli Vittal Heggde

Opposing the selection of Kalkuli Vittala Heggde as the president of Chikkamagaluru district sahitya sammelan, Minister for Kannada and Culture C.T. Ravi said that he was for changing the president.

Speaking to reporters in Chitradurga on Wednesday, Mr. Ravi alleged that Mr. Heggade had a “naxalite background”.

He said a sahitya sammelan should not trigger clashes and fights but should give a “good cultural message to the people”.

Since the debate in favour of the selection of president of sahitya sammelan and against is going on, the district administration is still discussing on providing funds to the sammelan, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 5:28:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/police-deny-permission-for-sringeri-lit-fest-organisers-say-they-will-go-ahead/article30517076.ece

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