Controversies to reign over Jaipur Lit Fest this time too?
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Vikram Seth stint with alcohol
In 2009, Vikram Seth landed in controversy after pictures of the novelist caught sipping alcohol got published in the media.
The novelist was seen with a glass of alcohol during an event at the festival. The picture sent all the wrong signals to the people. Many perceived it as an insult to Indian culture. The organisers were later forced to issue a formal apology.
The profile of the attendees is deemed so favourable that alcohol firms vie with each other to market themselves at the venue.
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Rushdie and the Satanic Verses
Several Islamist groups have threatened to disrupt the event over the participation of four authors who had last year read out passages from Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. The four authors - Amitava Kumar, Ruchir Sharma, Jeet Thayil and Hari Kunzru, had created storm after the read versus from the banned book.
Such was the intensity of the protests, that Rushdie had to cancel his visit to the festival at the last moment.
In order to ensure that communal harmony is maintained the Jaipur police officers before giving permissions to the organisers have also taken in written from the organisers that no author or moderator will indulge into making any inflammatory comment.
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The attendees at the festival are seen smoking and drinking publicly without a check. Smoking in public places is prohibitted, but the rules are broken blatantly at the festival.
However, the police is on an alert. At least 1000 policemen would provide extra security cover the visiting authors, guests and literature lover for the Jaipur Literature festival starting from Thursday.
This year the police will also try to keep a check on the smoking in various arenas of the Diggi Palace except some smoking zones.
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The Jaipur Literature Festival has remained in the wrong foot for sponsorers also. Until recently, the festival was sponsored by a mining company, Rio Tinto Group. The mining company has been accused of flouting environmental guidelines in India and abroad.
Also, Coca Cola, which has been a major sponsorer of the festival, has been plagued by controversy.