Palekar was criticizing the Ministry for bringing out policy changes that will give only it the sole right to decide the themes and contents of the various exhibitions to be held at NGMA's centers.
Footage showed Palekar criticizing Ministry over scrapping of advisory committees
Palekar was speaking at the opening of an exhibition "Inside The Empty Box" in the memory of artist Prabhakar Barwe, who is known as one of the pioneers of the modernist movement Neo-Tantra.
In a video, which is trending on social media, Palekar is seen criticizing the Ministry of Culture for reportedly scrapping the advisory committees at the gallery's Mumbai and Bengaluru centers.
'This retrospective will be the last show by local artists'
Palekar referred to reports of scrapping of advisory committees in his speech.
He said, "Many of you may not know that this retrospective will be the last show decided by the advisory committee of local artists and not by some bureaucrat or an agent of the government with an agenda of either moral policing or proliferation of certain art commensurate with an ideological incline."
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I'm in the process of verifying the hearsay: Palekar
"As of November 13, 2018, the artistes' advisory committees at both regional centers, Mumbai and Bangalore, have been abolished, is what I have learnt," said the director.
He added that he was "in the process of verifying the hearsay."
At this point, an NGMA member on the stage, as shown in the video, interrupted, saying that Palekar should talk about the event.
Function is about Prabhakar Barwe, please stick to that: NGMA
The free speech crisis didn't end there as he was again interrupted by a woman, who said, "This isn't needed at the moment, sorry... The function is about Prabhakar Barwe, please stick to that."
However, Palekar refused to stop and went on to mention about writer Nayantara Sahgal whose invitation to speak at the Marathi literary convention was canceled at the last moment.
Freedom of speech
Sahgal's speech canceled as it was critical of situation: Palekar
Palekar said that Nayantara Sahgal was invited to speak at the Marathi literary convention recently but at the last minute the invitation was withdrawn because what she was going to say "was slightly critical of the situation around us."
Over the gagging of the freedom of speech, he asked the panel at the event, "Are we creating the same situation here?"