GUWAHATI, Aug 31 - Protesting the high-handed attitude of the government agencies with regard to occupying a prime venue in the city through �government influence�, members of the All Assam Publishers and Book Sellers Association would hold a sit-in protest tomorrow at the Lakhidhar Bora Kshetra near Dighalipukhuri here from 10.30 am onwards.
The association of local book publishers has also sought support from different social organisations, student bodies and the common people to make the authorities listen.
Both the publishers association and the Publication Board of Assam intend to hold their different book-related events in the AEI Field at Chandmari, a prime and popular venue for hosting such events during the same time.
The Association, which organises the North East Book Fair every year here, has planned to hold the 20th edition of the event from November 1 to 20 this year. Accordingly, the advance money was paid for the venue. At the same time, a good number of publishing houses from within the region and across the country have also given their consent and advance money for the event, the future of which is still uncertain.
�A sudden interruption from the Publication Board was uncalled for at a time when we have done all the preparations to hold the event. Discussions with the Board in this regard have not yielded any results,� Association secretary Dhiraj Goswami told The Assam Tribune.
Other than local and regional publishing houses, the houses like Penguin, Children Book Trust, Kalyani Publishers and other houses are going to join the festival. The British Council has also expressed its willingness to get associated, Goswami added.
�After holding a public meeting over the issue, the Association also sent a delegation comprising eminent persons like Dayananda Pathak, Eli Ahmed and Adip Phukan to the Public Board. We also held a discussion with Hrishikesh Goswami, the Press Advisor to the Chief Minister, and also sought an appointment with the State Education Minister over the issue but nothing positive has come out,� he said.
Today, the Association members met AGP president Atul Bora and other leaders of the party, including Keshab Mahanta and RN Kalita who assured it of all possible support.
It may be mentioned that the Asam Sahitya Sabha, the All Assam Students� Union, the SFI and a number of other organisations have extended their support to the demand of the All Assam Publishers and Book Sellers Association.
Meanwhile, popular singer Zubeen Garg has also extended his support to the protest to be staged by the publishers and the book sellers. In a statement issued here today, he said it is embarrassing for the State that its people have to resort to protests and dharnas for a cause like holding a book fair.
�I am not a publisher but I like books and appreciate the attempt of a section of our people to hold book fair year after year. Any controversy created over the matter is unfortunate,� Garg added.