Row over choice of Sammelana president


The Chikkamagaluru district unit of Kannada Sahitya Parishat has chosen writer and activist Kalkuli Vittal Heggade to preside over the 16th district-level Kannada Sahitya Sammelana to be held in Sringeri on January 10 and 11 next year. His selection has not gone well with people associated with Hindutva forces, who have threatened not to allow the programme.

Kalkuli Vittal Heggade has been involved in struggles for farmers, Dalits and tribals displaced due to various government programmes. His work Mangana Byate, which presents life in Malenadu, has been well-received by the literary world. The book also won a Karnataka Sahitya Academy award.

Kundur Ashok, district president of Sahitya Parishat, told The Hindu that Heggade's name was recommended by the taluk committee of Sringeri. The name was finalised by the district committee. “I informed him after the committee chose his name unanimously. Initially, he said the parishat could have chosen someone else. However, later he agreed to preside over the Sammelana. We are glad”, he said.

The Chikkamagaluru district units of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal have opposed the selection of Mr. Heggade for the honour. R.D. Mahendra, vice president of VHP, in a press conference at Balehonnur in N.R.Pura taluk on Wednesday, wanted to know what was his (Mr. Heggade's) contribution to literature. “Mr. Heggade has been criticising Sringeri Mutt for a long time. We oppose the Sahitya Parishat's decision”, he said. Shashank of Bajrang Dal and Jagadish Chandra of BJP, who were also in the press conference, supported the VHP’s view on the issue.

Mr. Mahendra said VHP and other like-minded organisations would hold a meeting to register their opposition. “If the Sahitya Parishat does not change its decision, we will not allow them to hold the programme”, said Mr. Mahendra.

However, Kannada Sahitya Parishat has said it will stand by its decision. Mr. Kundur Ashok told The Hindu, “Everybody has got the right to express their opinion. We will invite people from all ideologies to take part in the programme and make it a success”.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 6:55:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/row-over-choice-of-sammelana-president/article30107831.ece

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