Updated: July 25, 2019 9:41:57 pm
A controversy erupted on Thursday after Kerala BJP spokesperson B Gopalakrishnan suggested that renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan should consider migrating to the Moon if he was unable to tolerate those chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.
“If you are not keen to hear it (Jai Sri Ram), please register your name at Sriharikota and you can go to the moon,” Gopalakrishnan told Adoor in a Facebook post, adding it will be better if he changed his name. Read in Malayalam
The BJP leader’s outburst came a day after a letter was sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on incidents of lynchings across the country. Gopalakrishnan was among the 49 signatories who had voiced their concerns against cases of mob violence.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Malayalam film fraternity threw their weights behind Adoor and condemned the BJP leader’s comments.
Hitting back at Gopalakrishnan’s remarks, Adoor said he will go to the Moon if he gets a ticket. He further said their letter voicing concern was neither against the government, nor against those chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’, but against incidents of lynching using the “chant as a war cry”. The filmmaker also claimed to have received threat calls over the letter.
Another signatory and actor Kaushik Sen also alleged to have received a threat call. “Yesterday, I received a call from an unknown number where I was threatened with dire consequences if I don’t stop raising my voice against lynchings and intolerance. I was told that I would be killed if I don’t mend my ways,” Sen told the news agency.
Union Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had dismissed the concerns, calling it part 2 of the 2014 “award wapsi”. “We saw the same thing after 2014 (Lok Sabha polls) in the name of ‘award wapsi’. This is just part two of that,” he said.
The letter, dated July 23, maintained that there is “no democracy without dissent”, and that people should not be branded as “anti-nationals” or “urban Naxals” for voicing dissent. “Lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately. We were shocked to learn from NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) reports that there have been no less than 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in 2016, and a definite decline in the percentage of convictions,” it stated.
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