200 writers ask Cameron to speak out on the current state of freedom of expression in Modi’s India
Hundreds of writers including Salman Rushdie, Hari Kunzru and Ian McEwan have called on David Cameron to address the “rising climate of fear” in India when the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, who arrives in Britain later.
An open letter to Cameron signed by 200 writers – including Val McDermid, Neel Mukherjee, Marina Lewycka, David Lodge, Owen Sheers and Francesca Simon – highlights their fears over the “growing intolerance and violence towards critical voices who challenge orthodoxy or fundamentalism in India”. It urges the prime minister to engage with Modi “both publicly and privately on this crucial issue”.
The letter was published by PEN International and signed by members of its centres in England, Wales and Scotland.
Modi will visit the Queen, stay at Chequers and address a joint session of parliament. The Red Arrows aerobatic display team will mark his presence with a fly-past over Westminster, and the visit culminate in a concert and fireworks display at Wembley stadium, billed as an “Olympics-style” reception.
Officials hope Modi will sign significant trade deals when he is in London. But the writers would like the “current state of freedom of expression” in India to be on the agenda, too.