Malayalam author forced to withdraw novel after threats from right-wing: Kerala govt, writers rally behind S Hareesh

Writers and leaders of political parties rallied behind noted Malayalam author S Hareesh, who withdrew his novel being serialised in a weekly after alleged threats from right-wing groups, with the Kerala government asking the publishers to go ahead with the work.

Press Trust of India July 23, 2018 20:47:51 IST
Malayalam author forced to withdraw novel after threats from right-wing: Kerala govt, writers rally behind S Hareesh

Thiruvananthapuram: Writers and leaders of political parties rallied behind noted Malayalam author S Hareesh, who withdrew his novel being serialised in a weekly after alleged threats from right-wing groups, with the Kerala government asking the publishers to go ahead with the work.

Malayalam author forced to withdraw novel after threats from rightwing Kerala govt writers rally behind S Hareesh

File image of Malayalam writer S Hareesh. Image courtesy: News18

An array of eminent Malayalam writers, including M Mukundan, K Satchidanandan, Anita Nair,Unni R and KR Meera, expressed anguish over the development and said it was a threat to freedom of expression. Kerala minister G Sudhakaran said the writer has the support of the government and asked the publishers not to stop serialising the novel.

Hareesh on Sunday withdrew the novel and said there was a cyber attack against him and his family amid allegations by certain right-wing activists that it portrayed women visiting temples in a poor light. Extending solidarity with Hareesh, veteran CPM leader VS Achuthanandan asked him to reconsider his decision to pull out the novel 'Meesha' (moustache)' surrendering to the "threat of the sanghparivar".

"The writer and the publishers 'Mathrubhumi' (weekly) should be ready to go ahead with the novel', the former chief minister said in a statement. He also urged people from all walks of life to come forward in protecting the right and freedom of writers. CPM politburo member MA Baby said it was a "disgrace" for Kerala to withdraw the novel of Hareesh who was a noted writer in the new-generation.

"It is an attempt by RSS and Sanghparivar to threaten free thought in Kerala," he charged. Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the development was a shame for entire Kerala. The Congress leader also said it was an act of intolerance to attack the writer by citing certain dialogues by a character in the novel.

Meanwhile, a group of writers held a protest in front of the venue of the ongoing international documentary film festival, extending support to Hareesh. The situation that led to the withdrawal of the novel by Hareesh was a dark indication of threat being faced by freedom of expression from the right wing, Satchidanandan said.

He wanted all writers to come together against such threats. The novel courted controversy after three parts of series came out in the weekly.

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