Writer and biologist Aarathi Prasad has pulled out of the London edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival, scheduled for May 21, following the call to boycott the event in protest against its controversial sponsor Vedanta Resources. According to protest website foilvedanta.org, more than a 100 writers have signed a letter that details the natural resource company’s human rights violations and dismal environmental record and condemns its association with the festival.

Prasad said, “I do not support giving social licence to Vedanta through its sponsorship of the London event. Social licence should come from a company's ethical practice, from its internal policies, not merely from what it presents to the outside world, and it is especially problematic when the two are at odds. Free speech should be used where it can be by people who have a public voice to represent the people who do not.”

In response to the letter, Sanjoy Roy, the managing director of Teamwork Arts, which organises the event had said their sponsors do not influence their content and that the festival “remains an open platform for free thought and expression”.

The letter had pointed to accidents at the company's factories, its irregularities in obtaining environmental clearances and its efforts to out-muscle locals in legal battles, citing examples from Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Goa and Rajasthan. It claimed that Vedanta was trying to “create favourable public opinion” by sponsoring events such as the Jaipur Lit fest and the International Film Festival of India.