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Award Winning Novel Torched, Novelist Threatened of Action

Freedom Forum has recorded an incident of the violation of freedom of expression.

The people belonging to Bhujel community torched a novel, Seto Dharti, which was awarded this year's Madan Puraskar, one of the prestigious literary honors of Nepal, in Pokhara, a western city on October 19, 2012.

Talking to Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk, novelist Amar Neupane said, "The members of Bhujel Service Committee threatened me of physical action repeatedly with false accusation of 'humiliating their community' in my book, Seto Dharti. I wrote the book with extensive research and depicted the reality. But they misinterpreted it. "

The members of the Committee asked the novelist to beg public pardon for allegedly humiliating their community in the book and also told the bookshops in Pokhara to remove the novel.

The novel written with thorough study and research was awarded the Madan Puraskar after proper evaluation by the senior literary figures.

But, true depiction of particular time, people and their profession has allegedly been the source of humiliation in the Bhujel people which is quite objectionable.

Most of the readers have said there was no matter of humiliation but the Bhujel people interpreted the words falsely. It is written in their favour, the writer added.

Moreover, the threat to the novelist is a sheer violation of freedom of expression.

It is a new case in the recent time in Nepal that a book is burnt with the discontent over the content.

However, the way of objecting content is abhorrent.

Such incidents are the factors which discourage the writers and compel for self-censorship. And the self-censorship jeopardizes the freedom of expression, a fundamental rights need to a democratic society.

Freedom Forum therefore condemns the incident and urges the concerned authority to search those involved in threat and take action.