Kerala writer forced to withdraw novel, support pours in

By PTI Published on Jul 23, 2018 10:50 AM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Writers and leaders of political parties today 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 publisher to go ahead with his work.

An array of eminent Malayalam writers, including M Mukundan, K Satchidanandan, Anita Nair, Unni R and K R 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 publisher not to stop serialising the novel.

Hareesh yesterday withdrew the novel, saying 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 CPI-M leader V S 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 publisher '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.

CPI-M politburo member M A Baby said it was a 'disgrace' for Kerala to withdraw the novel of Hareesh who is a noted writer among 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 here, extending support to Hareesh.

The situation that led to the withdrawal of the novel by Hareesh is a dark indication of threat to people's 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.