Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today said the most befitting reply to ‘those’ who try to suppress freedom of expression is to “express all creativity much stronger and louder.” Without naming RSS-BJP, he said a number of people ranging from late M F Hussain and Narendra Dabholkar to Ghulam Ali and Perumal Murugan were among the victims of the threat. “What we are seeing is that writers who express a different view are being asked to stop writing,” he said.
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“We are also seeing that filmakers who express opinions unacceptable to them (BJP-RSS) are being asked to leave the country and vocalists being asked not to sing,” he said. “The most befitting reply to give to those who try to suppress freedom of expression is to express all creativity much stronger and louder,” the chief minister said.
Stating that what the country was witnessing now is “backdoor entry of the fascism,” Vijayan also said it would harm the basic democratic values of the great nation.
Apparently referring to the recent criticism by state BJP leaders against eminent filmaker Kamal and Jnanpith laureate M T Vasudevan Nair, the Chief Minister said “the latest incident in this regard is the threat against Kamal. They are even abusing revered personalities like MT.”
Inaugurating the 57th edition of the Kerala School Youth Festival here, he said freedom of expression is the integral part of democracy but it is facing challenges in the country nowadays.
Besides Vijayan, Education Minister C Ravindranath and well-known playback singer K S Chithra also took part in the colourful opening ceremony, which showcased the cultural diversity of the state.
Over 12,000 students would contest in 232 events to be staged in 20 venues as part of the one-week-long Youth Festival.
Known as ‘school kalolsavam’ and ‘yuvajanotsavam’ in local parlance, the annual event features competition of a number of art forms, including Kathakali music, Mohiniyattom, Aksharaslokam, Margomkali, Kuchipudi, Yakshaganam, Chavittunatakam and Duffmuttu.
The CPI(M)-led LDF government has decided to conduct the festival under the scanner of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau this year, to avoid frequent complaints from participants on “irregularities and favouritism by judges.”