Six RSS workers arrested for threatening Poet in Kerala
The incident took place at Kotttukkal when Kureepuzha Sreekumar was returning after addressing a function, police said
Six RSS activists were arrested for allegedly threatening a noted Malayalam poet, who had reportedly attacked Hindutva forces over a "caste wall" on public land in Kochi even as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned that such incidents would not be tolerated.
The incident took place at Kotttukkal when Kureepuzha Sreekumar was returning after addressing a function, police said. He was stopped by a group of RSS activists as he was getting into his car and allegedly threatened, they said. Sreekumar, while addressing the function, had reportedly attacked Hindutva forces over their stand regarding the controversy over construction of the "caste wall" at Vadayampady near Kochi.
Tension had been prevailing in the area since the past 10 months over the alleged wall constructed by the Nair Service Society (NSS) on land adjacent to a local Temple. While local NSS leadership has claimed that the wall was constructed on temple land, dalit organisations have challenged the claim.
Dalit outfits said they have been protesting against the alleged "caste wall" adjacent to the Bhajana Madom Devi temple. On the basis of the poet's complaint, a case was registered against the RSS workers. However, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan said neither RSS nor BJP workers were responsible for the incident.
The BJP has also filed a complaint with police demanding legal action against the poet for allegedly attempting to trigger communal violence "by destroying the peaceful atmosphere in the area." In the complaint, BJP said Sreekumar in his speech had made "provocative comments" about sangh parivar outfits, portrayed Hindu gods in a bad light and tried to harm the communal equilibrium in the society.
Reacting to the incident, the poet today said the attack against him was "well planned" and Kerala was going back to the dark ages. "The upsurge of extreme communal terror, prevailing in parts of north India, has come to Kerala also...It is horrifying.. Otherwise they would not have hurled abusive comments at me," he said. Kollam Rural Superintendent of Police B Asokan told PTI that a case was registered against 15 RSS workers, of whom six were arrested.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office has directed the police to take stringent action and launch a thorough probe into the incident. Meanwhile, the issue also cropped up in the state assembly with the chief minister stating that a group of 15 RSS/BJP workers led by a panchayat member, Dipu were behind the incident.
A case has been registered against 15 persons and six persons have been arrested so far, he said. There has been an increase in attacks on the freedom of expression in the country since the past few years, Vijayan said, adding that M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh had lost their lives due to such intolerance. In Kerala also renowned writer M T Vasudevan Nair and film maker Kamal were among those who had been threatened. Such incidents would be dealt with sternly and will not be allowed to be repeated, he said.
The government will provide necessary protection to ensure that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, Vijayan said. Kerala stands out as an island of hope, when attacks on freedom of expression are taking place elsewhere in the country, the chief minister added.
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