Chomsky’s talk on Citizenship Amendment Act cancelled on Indian govt behest
The organisers of the Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest 2020 have cancelled a dialogue scheduled between academics and activists Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad citing "unforeseen circumstances".
The two had planned to talk about Chomsky's latest work, Internationalism or Extinction, on the evening of November 20 but received an email in the afternoon at around 1 pm informing them that the virtual event will not be taking place.
Taking to Twitter, Prashad said their panel was abruptly cancelled just hours before it was to go live. "Interestingly, just hours before this session between Chomsky and myself, @tatalitlive cancelled our appearance ‘due to unforeseen circumstances’. More on this to come (sic)," he tweeted.
Chomsky and Prashad issue a statement following the abrupt cancellation of the dialogue.
"The dialogue was set to occur on Friday, November 20 at 9 pm Indian Standard Time. The advertisement was circulated and the team at Mumbai (Tata) Lit Fest had confirmed all the details. The last communication came in at 9 am Indian Standard Time on November 20 to remind us of the zoom link and other details," Chomsky and Prashan said in the joint statement on Friday.
"Then, out of nowhere, near 1 pm Indian Standard Time, we received an email which said, cryptically, ‘I am sorry to inform you that due to unforeseen circumstances, we have to cancel your talk today’. Further inquiries informed us to be in touch with the festival’s director, Anil Dharker. No communication has been established thus far with Mr. Dharker," they added.
The two had also planned to talk about the sensitive issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the sponsors of the Mumbai literature fest.
"What is being said by the elites is notable and must be given judicious care by the media owned by large corporations, but what is said outside those circles must be ignored or disparaged. Since we do not know why Tata and Mr Dharker decided to cancel our session, we can only speculate and ask simply: was this a question of censorship?" they said.
They also criticised the Narendra Modi government over the CAA law saying that it has suffocated the voices of the hundreds of millions of impoverished Indian voters.
"Regarding India, the issue of the erosion of democracy is a serious matter, with the passage of bills such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the vast sums of money that have now suffocated the voices of the hundreds of millions of impoverished Indian voters as examples of the problem; the issue of warfare is significant, with the Indian government participating in the highly destabilizing Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with Australia, Japan, and the United States," the statement read.