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April 30, 2000
Pak poet's take on Pokhran angers audience
A mushaira at the Jawaharlal Nehru University was disrupted by a section of the audience last night after Pakistani poet Fahmida Riaz recited a poem on nuclear blasts.
Angry members of the audience heckled Pakistani poets, broke chairs and prevented famous poet Ahmad Faraz from taking the mike.
The Saarc writers conference, on the sidelines of which the mushaira was held, has condemned the incident.
The valedictory session of the conference attended by Vice-president Krishan Kant adopted a one-line resolution moved by writer Kushwant Singh after former prime minister V P Singh asked the writers to condemn the incident.
''We condemn the violence at JNU as a transgression of writers' freedom,'' the resolution said.
V P Singh said the incident was serious enough to deserve the condemnation of the writers' community.
The Pakistani poets had to leave the mushaira with their friends forming a protective ring around them.
Later, police moved in to control the situation.
'I have a great admiration for India. The people in this country are known for their tolerance,'' said Riaz, who lived in Delhi for seven years following troubles with the Pakistani establishment over her poems.
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