S Hareesh's Malayalam novel Meesha, which was earlier withdrawn from the periodical Mathrubhumi after protests from right-wing groups, has been published by DC books and is available in bookstores across Kerala. The newly published book has included the controversial sections that the right-wing groups had taken offence to.
Speaking to the Indian Express, CEO of DC Books, Ravi Deecee, stated that the publishing house always stood up for good writers and books. He also added that he had filed a complaint in the Kottayam East police station against a social media user who used questionable language while berating him for publishing the book.
The novel Meesha was first published in a serialised manner in the Malayalam periodical Mathrubhumi.
However, novelist S Hareesh, withdrew the book after receiving threats from right-wing groups in the state, who had claimed that parts of the novel insulted temple-going women and made casteist slurs against Brahmin priests in the temple.
“I have decided to withdraw my novel because of the threats and attacks against me and my family,” Hareesh had told the Mathrubhumi News television channel.
“I am too weak to take on the people who rule the country. I worked on the novel for five long years,” the writer told Mathrubhumi News after his request the withdraw the book.
It was the section of the book published in Mathrubhumi weekly volume 2 on July 11 which kicked up the controversy.
SC to hear plea against Meesha
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a petition filed against the publishing of the Malayalam novel
The petitioner, N Radhakrishnan from Delhi, has objected to a conversation between two characters in the novel that allegedly portrayed temple-going women in a derogatory manner. The complaint also stated that the comments in the book on Brahmin priests in the temple were casteist in nature.
Advocate Usha Nandini filed the petition before Chief Justice of India on Tuesday and the date of the hearing was fixed for Thursday.
“The aforesaid publication caused public outburst and protests across the nation, especially in the State of Kerala as the matter was published in Malayalam. Post the publication of the article, Hindu women visiting temples were subjected to ridicule and embarrassment through various social media platforms. Trolls, which appeared and were circulated on social media, have caused deep pain and anguish to the temple-going Hindu believers,” the petition read.
The petition also criticised the Kerala government for not taking 'appropriate measures' to stop the publishing and sale of the novel.
According to reports, the petitioner claimed that if the government does not take steps to protect the interest of the citizens, then very soon it would indirectly involve the public to react creating a 'Charlie Hebdo' backlash of sorts.
The petition also asks that all copies of Mathrubhumi weekly volume 2 published on 7th July 2018, where the novel has been published in the form of a series, be seized and the publication of the novel be discontinued.
After the novel was discontinued from the Malayalam periodical, several people, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, stood in support of the writer and his freedom of expression. The CM also said that the government would back the writers and will not allow their freedom of speech to be attacked.