GUWAHATI, Sept 1 - The All Assam Publishers and Book Sellers Association has decided to take legal recourse in the row over the book fair venue if the State government does not respond to its call for an amicable settlement of the issue within the next three days.
The association announced this at a sit-in protest demonstration held at the Lakhidhar Bora Kshetra here today. The demonstration was attended and supported by a number of eminent citizens from all walks of life and also a number of students� organisations who supported the publishers and asked the State government to do the needful so that the tradition of holding book fairs at the AEI field in Chandmari remains intact and book lovers of the State and the capital city are not disappointed.
In the protest event today, the association once again reiterated that since it has been holding the fair at the AEI field at the same time every year for the past two decades, it must be allowed to continue with its programme.
It also reminded the State government that advance money has been paid to the Assam Engineering Institute authorities for booking the ground from November 1 to 20, and it has the right to go ahead with its scheduled programme.
�If the State government and the Publication Board do not respond in the next three days, we would be compelled to take legal action. All the activities from the government�s end suggest that it is a ploy to sabotage our event,� Association president Ajit Barman and general secretary Dhiraj Goswami said.
Eminent writers, social activists, academicians, student leaders and journalists were among the people who extended their support to today�s protest demonstration. During the programme, Eli Ahmed, Ajoy Dutta, Bimal Kumar Hazarika, Prantosh Roy, Dayananda Pathak, Haidar Hussain, Bipul Rabha, Irshad Ali, Mukut Singha Chutiya, Kailash Sarma, Ghanashyam Nath, Ronen Goswami, Ratna Bharali Talukdar, Janardan Goswami, Nekib Ahmed, Dwijen Bhattacharyya, Udayaditya Bharali, Kaberi Kachari, Loknath Goswami, Bhitali Das and Kamal Kumar Medhi among others supported the association�s stand.
A number of organizations, including the All Assam Students� Union, NSUI, SFI, Satra Mukti Sangram Samity and Zubeen Fan Club joined the programme today.
On the other hand, reacting to the controversy, the Publication Board Assam today said the Board has applied for its two events Shishu Grantha Utsab (children�s book fest) and Guwahati Book Fair by following proper procedures and have booked the AEI Field, Chandmari from 5-11-2018 to 14-11-2018 and again from 11-12-2018 to 5-1-2019 for both the events respectively.
�For the entire year, we have booked the field for 36 days only and not for four months as propagated by a section. We are ready to vacate the venue on the next day of the children�s book fest and three days after the Guwahati Book Fair- 2018 for other programmes,� said Board�s Secretary Promod Kalita, requesting all sections not to create unnecessary controversy over the issue.