Emminent Indian journalist and author, Ms. Rana Ayyub’s talk at the Indian Cultural Centre, Doha on October 22nd was allegedly cancelled by the Embassy of India, Doha, at the very last minute.
Alleging stifle of freedom of expression at the behest of the Government of India, Rana took to social media to vent her irk and made the news public today. She said: “Hundreds of those who gathered to hear me talk were asked to leave after the embassy told the organisers that they could not allow an event where I was a speaker. Not bad. Mr.Modi , so now free speech is a threat to India?”
Meanwhile questions has already been sent to the Embassy of India, Doha seeking an official version of the incident and a reply is still awaited.
The event was organised to commemorate the 85th Birth Anniversary of erstwhile President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, under the banner of Indian Association of Bihar and Jharkhand (IABJ), Qatar which is an affiliate to the Indian Cultural Centre, Doha under the aegis of Embassy of India.
Without throwing any light on the reasons for cancellation, a release from the president of IABJ, Mr. Afroz Ahmad Dawar merely informed about the event being called off due to ‘some reasons.’
It may be noted that Rana was touring the country attending various conferences and giving away talks on her recent book, The Gujarat Files. The much controversial self published book carries transcripts of chilling confessions made by some top notch administrative officials and politicians about their involvement in the 2002 Gujarat genocide.
Conferred with many Indian and international awards for her excellence in investigative journalism, Ms Rana Ayyub’s expose on the involvement of the current Genral Secretary of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mr. Amit Shah in fake encounter of a 19-year-old Muslim woman back in 2004.
(A post-graduate in International Journalism from University of Sussex, England; Shamim Zakaria is a journalist and writer. He can be reached on www.shamimzakaria.com)