state news

Mob disrupts Kanhaiya Kumar’s programme at literary festival in Lucknow

A few youth, allegedly linked to right-wing groups, shouted slogans against the former JNU Students’ Union leader and called him anti-national.

The Lucknow administration on Saturday withdrew permission for a three-day literature festival in the city after a few youth disrupted a session being addressed by former Jawaharlal Nehru University Student’s Union President Kanhaiya Kumar on the first day of the event, PTI reported.

Kumar was invited to speak about his book From Bihar to Tihar at an event at Sheroes Cafe, which is run by acid attack survivors. A few people, allegedly linked to right-wing groups, reached the venue and began to shout slogans against him.

The crowd started calling Kumar anti-national and demanded that he leave the event, The Times of India reported. The police detained five people.

“We tried to placate them...the police were called in to bring the situation under control,” said Shamim Aarzo, the organiser. “Later, the session with actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha went on according to schedule.”

However, District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma told PTI that the organisers had only taken permission for a book fair, and that the administration was not told leaders or actors would address events. “The conditions for granting permission were violated by the organisers, so we have withdrawn it,” he said.

Sharma added that the Model Code of Conduct was in force in the area for an upcoming local body election. “As we had no knowledge that leaders and actors had been invited to the festival, security arrangements were not made,” he said.

But Aarzo said the Lucknow administration was informed about the event. “Kumar’s event was publicised and it was not a secret,” he said.

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