On Sunday, right-wing activists allegedly smeared black oil over a 'progressive' Kannada writer's face and allegedly warned him against writing negatively about Hindu gods, said police official.
The incident happened in Davanagere, Karnataka, as Yogesh Master was having tea at a stall when eight or nine persons smeared his face with black oil and fled, Davanagere Superintendent of Police Bhimashankar Guled told PTI.
He said Yogesh, the author of controversial Kannada novel "Dundhi," was in Davanagere to attend a book release function organised by Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada tabloid run by journalist Gauri Lankesh. Master was warned of dire consequences for writing against Hindu gods, Guled said, adding that the suspects shouted "Jai Sri Ram" before fleeing. Two persons have been arrested, he said.
Yogesh told The Hindu that he was attacked while having tea with friends after the programme. The men who jumped him, were buying some books nearby. He said, "The gang raised pro-Hindu and right-wing slogans, and threatened to kill me for writing against Hindu Gods. They used foul language and pulled my hair. It was a physical attack that left a deep mental impact.” Yogesh added that he could easily identify most of the men.
According to The Times of India, the accused were identified as Chethan, 21, an autorickshaw driver, and Shivarprasad, 26, who works in a local printing press. Guled said 4 police teams have been formed to nab the other absconding accused.
The participants and organisers, including Gauri Lankesh, held a protest rally to the police station and registered a complaint, Guled said. CPI state general secretary Siddanagouda Patil also participated in the march, he added.
According to The Hindu, Lankesh blamed right-wing forces, including the Sangh Parivar, for the attack. She demanded that a thorough inquiry should be conducted into the matter and stringent action should be initiated against the miscreants. “Apart from arresting the perpetrators of the crime, the conspiracy behind the attack should also be uncovered,” she said.
Meanwhile, according to The Asian Age, chief minister Siddaramaiah expressed shock over the incident and said that instructions had been given to the Davangere police to take stern action against the accused. The attack was against the freedom of expression and the government would not tolerate it, he said.
Master was also involved in a widespread controversy in August 2013 when he was arrested after local Hindu outfits lodged a complaint against him. The Hindu groups claimed that Master had allegedly hurt the Hindus' sentiments by depicting Lord Ganesha in poor light in his novel 'Dhundi'.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Mar 14, 2017 13:36:25 IST