No restrictions on freedom of expression in Delhi: Minister

Minister Kapil Mishra was referring to the recent arrival of truckload of stones in Ayodhya, about six months after the VHP had announced its nationwide drive to collect them for construction of Ram temple in the temple town.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 08, 2016, 22:00 PM IST

New Delhi: Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra on Friday encouraged literary voices to write freely about contemporary issues without fear or favour, in order to promote a free and fair society.

"People who can unite society with their writings and those who can understand why stones started arriving in January 2016 in Ayodhya, they should articulate and write freely about such issues in order to discourage divisive elements in society," Mishra said while inaugurating the fourth edition of the Delhi Literature Festival here today.

Mishra was referring to the recent arrival of truckload of stones in Ayodhya, about six months after the VHP had announced its nationwide drive to collect them for construction of Ram temple in the temple town.

Referring to the disquiet among the intellectuals, writers and artistes who had protested against the "rising intolerance" last year, the minister said no restrictions will be imposed on anything that any individual has to say, write or even sing in Delhi.

"I don't have much understanding of literature but as a Minister for art, culture, language and tourism, I can assure you that irrespective of what you write or how you write it; who you applaud and who you criticise, if what you say has a valid point, the entire Delhi government will stand by your side. You have the full liberty to write and say anything you want," he said.

Alluding to the incident where Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali's concert in India was cancelled last year, Mishra said that the country had "enough of who can come and who cannot come into the country."

"Those who should have been stopped have managed to come to Pathankot but Ghulam Ali sahab was not allowed to perform in the country. A strange environment has been created and this needs to be changed.

"These barriers should be kept away from the world of writers, thinkers and artistes. With the kind of environment that has been created in the country, it is the people with pens and voices who are the need of the hour rather than politicians like me," he said.

Mishra hailed the role of technology, particularly social media like Facebook and Whatsapp as a great boon for aspiring writers.

"We don't need to ask whether we will be published or not. Even if there are four lines that will touch millions of people in a matter of hours through a Facebook post.

Technology has given us the opportunity to read what strangers write from dusk to dawn," he said.