A talk by author and political commentator Tarek Fatah about Balochistan’s struggle for freedom from Pakistan has been cancelled by the Calcutta Club in the West Bengal Capital. The organiser of the event on Thursday said the club cited concerns raised by the Kolkata Police for cancelling the talk.
“Were told that [the] event was perceived by Kolkata Police is sensitive. They felt it will fuel unnecessary tension,” the organiser told ANI. He said the CEO of the club informed them that the “cordial atmosphere of club will be at stake if the event takes place”.
Fatah took to Twitter on Wednesday when he was informed about the club’s decision, and said that the state government had pressurised the administration to cancel his event. The Pakistan-born Canadian author also shared the mail he had received from the club, where they had said that the event was cancelled because of “unavoidable circumstances”. However, they had not elaborated on that in the mail.
Fatah had supported Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech where the prime minister had spoken about the Pakistani Army’s atrocities in Balochistan. He had said that Modi’s stand turned international focus on the issue. Pakistan had strongly condemned the Balochistan reference in Modi’s speech, though.
The decision by Calcutta Club comes in the wake of strained relations between the Mamata Banerjee government and the Centre. Banerjee has been one of the most vocal critics of the central government’s demonetisation move, and has accused Modi of political vendetta after two of her MPs were arrested in connection with a massive chit fund scam.