Support pours in for Kerala writer forced to withdraw novel

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Thiruvananthapuram, July 22 (IANS) After an initial silence, political parties in Kerala have started condemning the suspected right-wing outfit’s threats that forced a Kerala Sahitya Akademi award winning writer to withdraw his novel, serialised by a leading vernacular magazine.

Veteran Communist leader V.S. Achuthanandan on Sunday said that the writer S. Hareesh should not withdraw his work and the Mathrubhumi Weekly, that serialised the novel, should see that it is published again.

This is the time that all progressive and democracy-loving people should come together to break the hatred spread and intolerance of the Sangh Parivar forces. None should bend before them . Hence the weekly and the writer should see this is resumed,” said the former Chief Minister.

CPI-M Politburo member M.A. Baby said the cardinal principle in a democracy is freedom of expression and this is what has exactly not happened in the case of Hareesh.

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“One might have difference of opinion but when it comes to denying freedom of expression, we will certainly fight against that,” he said.

Trouble started for Hareesh after the first two chapters of the serialised novel “Meesha” (Moustache)” appeared in the popular Mathrubhumi Weekly and soon his Facebook page was flooded with abuses by suspected right-wing activists saying the novel was an “insult” to Hinduism.

As when the threats continued to come and even targeted his family, he closed down his social media account and asked the publishers to withdraw the novel.

What appears to have attracted the ire of the right-wing is a conversation between two characters in the novel, where they suggest that women who go to the temples are subconsciously making a declaration that they are ready for a sexual relationship.

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The character also says that women, when they fail to turn up in the temple for four or five days in a month, are not ready for it on those days.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, while condemning the act of the right-wing activists as a blatant attack on the freedom of expression, also blamed the Kerala Home Department and asked why they were silent on taking action against those who abused the writer and his family on social media.

–IANS

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