Hours after the Dhaka Police withdrew their permission for a talk by writer and activist Arundhati Roy in the city, the organisers of the event announced on Tuesday that the event has been moved to a new venue.
Roy is scheduled to speak at the tenth edition of the Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography in Bangladesh on Tuesday. She will be in conversation with photographer Shahidul Alam. The event, which was initially scheduled to be held at the Krishibid Institute in Dhaka will now be held at the Midas Centre at 6 pm.
“You will probably be aware that permission to hold Arundhati Roy’s talk at the pre-determined venue (Krishibid Institute) was withdrawn late last night,” the organisers said in a Facebook post. “After massive juggling and a lot of help from friends, we have been able to obtain a new venue. The talk will go on and the previous registration holds. Thanks to all the people who rallied in our support.”
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police, while revoking the permission, had cited “unavoidable circumstances” but gave no further details.
A police officer told Bangladeshi daily New Age that the permission was revoked due to security reasons. “The prime minister will attend a programme at the venue on March 8,” Tejgaon police station officer-in-charge Mazharul Islam Kajal was quoted as saying. “For this reason, we are to hand over the venue to the SSF [Special Security Force] and Special Branch of Police three days before the programme.”
He added: “That is why we have to hand over the venue on Tuesday. As a result, we were compelled to ask them not to stage the programme on Tuesday.”