By Kritika Sharma
Controversial TV personality Tarek Fatah was heckled at Urdu festival Jashn-e-Rekhta, recently held in the national Capital. The Pakistani writer who went to the festival as an audience member was attacked by a group of young men, who objected to his presence at the festival venue on Sunday.
While the organisers of the festival say that some people spotted him roaming around at the venue and asked him to leave, Fatah is claiming that it was a pre-planned attack on him as the “liberal Muslims of Delhi cannot tolerate him”. “I went there as part of the audience but was soon surrounded by people who wanted me out. There were around 100 people, dressed in suggestively Muslim attire. They asked me to leave the venue. When I refused, they started hitting me with sticks on my back and feet,” Fatah said.
“This went on for about half an hour before the police came. Even after all this, the organisers did not turn up to see or ask about what happened. Later I realised that it was all a well-orchestrated plan to kick me out of the venue,” he added. The writer, who hosts a TV show Fatah ka Fatwa on Zee News, said that the ‘liberal Delhi Muslims’ like the Rekhta organisers can’t tolerate him and hence he was such treatment was meted out to him. “The upper class Leftist Muslims have created their own circle and I do not fit in their circle, hence I was treated like this,” he adds.
The organisers have alleged that Fatah was provoking the crowd by calling them ‘Aurangzeb ke kutte’ (Aurangzeb’s pets), but he denied any such allegation. “Tarek Fatah provoked the crowd, said, ‘Aurangzeb ke kutton, tum mujhe kya nikaloge’ (You pets of Aurangzeb, you can’t throw me out), someone threw a shoe at him but he refused to leave and a ruckus followed,” said one of the organisers.
“He did not come to the hall where the session was going on. It was the last session and he was allowed to enter the hall. Even Pakistani poet Kishwar Naheed was not allowed to recite her poems, as we did not keep any foreign poets/writers as panelists,” they added. The third edition of Urdu festival Jashn-e-Rekhta (JeR) was held from February 17-19, where scholars, writers, poets, singers, artists and admirers of the language gathered at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts in Delhi to celebrate Urdu.