Six people have been arrested by the Kollam police on Tuesday morning, after they allegedly attacked noted poet Kureeppuzha Sreekumar.
All the six arrested are men affiliated to the BJP and RSS, Kollam rural SP confirmed to TNM.
The incident happened on Monday night near Kottukal in Kollam, when Sreekumar was trying to get into his car. He had just delivered an address at an event that had been organised to celebrate the anniversary of Kairali library. In his speech, poet Sreekumar reportedly criticised the right-wing.
According to Kadakkal police, the 62-year-oldâ€™s speech hitting out at the right-wing, irked the six men, following which, they intercepted Sreekumar and allegedly verbally abused him. They said that Sreekumar was not manhandled, neither was his car damaged, like certain media reports had claimed.
The six men including BJP's Ittiva panchayat member Deepu allegedly verbally abused and threatened Sreekumar. He then filed a complaint with the Kadakkal police, following which, all the six men were nabbed.
The police have booked them under sections 294 (b) (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the IPC.
Speaking to Asianet News, Sreekumar explained how the six men had verbally abused him.
"I had just entered my car, when those RSS men put their head in through the window and began abusing me. The kind of Hindutva, communal forces that are rampant in the North of the country, is now happening in Kerala too. It is Hindutva terrorism. Otherwise they wouldn't have spoken to me in such bad language," he said.
Following the incident, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed Kollam rural SP to take immediate action against the accused. In a Facebook post, the CM condemned the attack on poet Sreekumar by BJP/RSS men and said that the state will strongly suppress all attacks against freedom of expression.
A noted and acclaimed poet, Sreekumar is the recipient of a number of literary awards including the prestigious Vyloppilli Award for Malayalam poetry and Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards.
Sreekumar's poems find traces of politics, religion-based terrorism and social issues.
Taking to Facebook, senior journalist and executive editor of Deccan Chronicle K J Jacob reacted strongly against the attack on Sreekumar.
"A majority of the writers in Kerala are against the ideologies of the Sangh. But often, we all listen to them in silence. That's the convenient option. But poets like Sreekumar and K Satchidanandan used every opportunity to react to it and do so, by looking straight into their eye. I had once asked Satchidanandan, whether he isn't scared of making such comments. He said that he needn't worry about anything...speaking against such forces is his job. Yesterday, that is exactly what Sreekumar also said."