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Withdrawing from Bengaluru lit fest, a painful decision: Vikram Sampat

Bengaluru, Nov. 30 : Expressing pain over stepping down as Bengaluru Literature Festival director, Vikram Sampat on Monday said there is no pressure from anyone as it was a personal decision.

“It was a very painful decision for me to take. There was no pressure, it was a personal decision which I made, and there was no threat from anyone. It is very important for me and the ideals for which it stand is more important than any individual. It’s India’s largest community funded festival where we have no corporate sponsorship ,media houses backing us, a platform which is independent, suddenly we have this bomb shell thrown on us that two Canada writers saying they were boycotting fest because of some views I held,” Sampat told ANI here.

“Today everything is seen in black or white. I don’t subscribe to this whole concept of returning awards as a means of protest while I respect their opinion to do so. I questioned selective outrage of some of these eminent people, this was an intellectual standpoint,” he added.

Some of the country’s best-selling authors and outspoken politicians extended support to Vikram Sampath, who stepped down as an organiser of the 4th edition of BLF after three participants objected to his ‘personal views’ against writers returning their award (award waapsi).

National award-winning director, Girish Kasaravalli, supported the thought, believing that a boycott would only reduce platforms to those with similar views. “I condemn the move. The writers should have instead taken their opinions on to the stage. You may not be able to convince them, but you can exercise your right to expression,” he said.

The two-day festival is scheduled to start here on December 5. (ANI)