Protests erupt after Leftist singer edited out of ‘saffronised’ Assam river fest’s theme song

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Though a clip previously uploaded on the social media showed Subha Prasad Nandi Majumdar – an avowed Leftist and Sangh Parivar critic – along with 15 other singers, he was missing from the official video that state industries minister Chandra Mohan Patowary released in Silchar on Monday evening.

INDIA Updated: Nov 16, 2017 09:46 IST
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
The removal of a Left-leaning singer from the theme song video of the Namami Barak river fest in Assam has plunged the BJP-promoted event into a fresh controversy.

Cultural activists across southern Assam’s Barak Valley, comprising three Bengali-dominated districts, have expressed resentment over the last-minute deletion of singer-academician Subha Prasad Nandi Majumdar from the video. Though a clip previously uploaded on the social media showed Majumdar – an avowed Leftist and Sangh Parivar critic – along with 15 other singers (including Union minister Babul Supriyo), he was missing from the official video that state industries minister Chandra Mohan Patowary released in Silchar on Monday evening.

In the official video, Majumdar’s footage was replaced with that of popular singer-actor Zubeen Garg.

The state government is organising Namami Barak from November 18 to 20 in a bid to deify the Barak river, which – incidentally – is slated to accommodate a 1,500 MW dam in upstream Manipur. The proposed move has been opposed by green activists in Assam as well as Bangladesh.

Silchar-based cultural activist Ajoy Kumar Roy resigned as the secretary of the Namami Barak coordination committee of 34 cultural organisations in the area to protest the alleged “saffron censoring of red”. “Targeting somebody because of his political leanings is just not the culture of Barak Valley. I quit yesterday (Tuesday) as I did not want to be associated with a festival of this kind,” he told HT on Wednesday.