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Ram Sene disrupts Delhi seminar on Pakistan

April 15, 2009 13:20 IST
SomeĀ 10 goons from the Sri Ram Sene led by one Vinay Singh tried to disrupt a seminar organised by the Foundation for Media Professionals to discuss the topic, 'Is media jingoism fanning Indo-Pak tensions?' at the India International Centre, New Delhi, at noon on Wednesday.

According to Harpal Singh, one of the seminar's organisers, someĀ 10 young men entered the auditorium without signing the register and quite soon the organisers could sense that they were intent on creating a disturbance.

The melee started when Rahimullah Yusufzai, a distinguished journalist from Peshawar, Pakistan, was giving an account of the difficulties faced by the media in his hometown where the Afghan Mujahideen, the Taliban and the Al Qaeda operatives function. Talking about the media, he mentioned one column by a Bengaluru-based academic advocating some eight steps to the Indian government on how to deal with Pakistan. The latter had said that not only India should cut off relations with Pakistan but also try to break up the nation.

When Yusufzai drew the attention of experts on the dais and audience to this, suddenly applause was heard from the rear of the auditorium. No sooner was the person identified and taken out of the hall than another one stood up and started shouting. Historian Ram Guha, who was a few rows away, told the cameramen to simply ignore him.

On the dais were celebrity author Arundhati Roy, senior journalists Bharat Bhushan, Swapan Dasgupta and Amit Baruah. Also present were senior Pakistan-based journalists like Beena Sarwar, Muniba Kamal and Saeed Minhas along with Nirupama Subramanian, Indian journalist who reports for The Hindu from Islamabad.

As the Sene goons were taken out of the auditorium, Yusufzai, who is facing the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Afghan Mujahideen day in and day out, was taken aback at the interruption. Before continuing his speech he did say softly, "This is very disturbing," adding, "In a democratic country there will surely be different opinions."

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi