The Indian government is busily quieting dissent about what an increase in religious fundamentalism is doing to human rights in India. And, for extra trouble, they're quieting people in Toronto.
Indian High Commissioner Rajnikant Verma has pressured one of the supporters of Dust On The Road, an exhibit by South Asian artists at Harbourfront's York Quay Centre, to pull out because of the show's political content.
"This reeks of heavy-handedness," says Sanjay Talreja of the South Asia Left Democratic Alliance (which has lent its support to the curators of the show).
After communicating with Verma, the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, a research institution funded by both Indian and Canadian governments, asked that its name be removed from any association with the exhibit. It did not pull its funding, but in protest exhibition organizers have returned the institute's $5,000 contribution.
Institute president Hugh Johnston did not return NOW's calls.
"It's absurd," responds Verma to accusations that he is silencing free speech. "If we think (the exhibit constitutes) abuse against the government of India, we simply don't think we should pay for it." LEAH RUMACK