The Harud- literary festival, which was supposed to begin in September in Kashmir, has been postponed, organisers of the event said in a statement on Monday. The statement came after the controversy on the event since it was announced that the event will be “apolitical” and Kashmiri writers, Basharat Peer and Mirza Waheed opted not to attend the festival. It was to be hosted at the Delhi Public School and University of Kashmir.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the postponement of the Harud Literary Festival. Born out of the best intentions to platform work of emerging and established writers in Kashmir, the festival has been hijacked by those who hold extreme views in the name of free speech,” the organisers say.
There was serious opposition to the hosting of such kind of event in Kashmir where media gag is often and most of the voices which rise against the state are forced to stop. The website, Kafila published a letter “An open letter on the ‘Harud’ literary festival“ in which it was said that why people do not support the festival. This letter has been signed by more than 200 people, so far, which includes writers, journalists, research scholars, students and many others.
“With many authors voicing their concerns about possible violence during the festival due to the heightened nature of the debate, and a call for protest at the venues, we neither have the desire to be responsible for yet more unrest in the valley nor to propagate mindless violence in the name of free speech. We are therefore left with little alternative but to cancel the festival for now,” it read.
Most of the literary figures who are invited to the event have refused to attend.