Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune | Published:January 2, 2016 7:52 pm
Pimpri-Chinchwad BJP unit asked him resign over his alleged derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shripal Sabnis, author and president of the 18th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan on Saturday remained defiant while asserting that he “will not apologise even if BJP members hang him.”A day after the
In fact, Sabnis, who has authored 29 books, on Saturday filed police complaint with Umarga police in Marathwada after receiving alleged death threats from two BJP members. Sabnis, a Puneite, had gone to Marathwada to deliver a speech at an academic institute.
“I have received two phone calls around 1 pm. today. The callers asked me to apologise for my remarks against Narendra Modi. They said if I do not apologise, they will kill me,” Sabnis said on Saturday evening. Sabnis added that he has filed complaints with Umarga police. It will be now the responsibility of the state government and the Chief Minister to ensure his safety.
On Friday, BJP Pimpri-Chinchwad unit burnt an effigy of Sabnis over his controversial remarks against the Narendra Modi relating to Gujarat carnage during his tenure as chief minister. Sabnis had made the remarks during a speech at a college at Akurdi Pimpri-Chinchwad on Thursday. “I do not accept Modi under whose tenure Gujarat carnage happened…but I have no problem with this Modi who talks of Buddha and Gandhi and goes to Pakistan for establishing peace despite threats to his life,” Sabnis had said, triggering protests from BJP which has threatened to stop him from descending on the dias of the Marathi literary meet which is going to take place in Pimpri-Chinchwad from January 15. Sabnis has been appointed president of the meet.
Sabnis said he has not said anything wrong and therefore there is no reason for him to apologise. “The Indian constitution has given me freedom of speech and nobody has the right to take away that right from me. I will speak against what is wrong and speak in favour of what is right. I have constitutional right for doing this,” he said.
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Athawale threatens to disrupt event
Meanwhile, Ramdas Athawale, president of the Republican Party of India (A), hinted that RPI activists would disrupt the upcoming four-day Marathi Sahitya Sammelan that would commence on January 15 if Dr. Sabnis, who is helming the literary event, indulged in any further ‘anti-Modi’ invective.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Athawale said while the 2002 Gujarat riots was a “black chapter in India’s democracy”, Prime Minister Modi was a man with “strong secular moorings”.
“It is grossly unfair to pin the blame of the Gujarat riots on the Prime Minister who respects every religion in this country…if Dr. Sabnis indulges in any ‘rants’ against Mr. Modi, then RPI activists will not flinch from disrupting the biggest literary event in the Marathi language,” Mr. Athawale warned.