CM Pinarayi Vijayan also condemned the incident, which garnered widespread criticism

Kerala temple officials held for alleged casteist remarks on artists bodyImage Courtesy: A K Balan Facebook Page
news News Sunday, February 04, 2018 - 09:21

In a shocking incident, seven members of the Ernakulam Shiva temple committee were arrested by the Kerala police on Saturday after they prohibited the display of the body of artist Asanthan, in the courtyard of the Durbar Hall art gallery for public homage on Wednesday.

The temple authorities had restrained the friends and relatives of the deceased to place his body at the Durbar Hall on the premises of the Lalitakala Academy, allegedly saying that since the artist belonged to a backward community, it would ‘pollute’ the Siva temple nearby.  

His body was later shifted to the verandah at the rear end of the gallery.

The arrested persons are identified to be Rajendraprasad, Ernakulam south councillor KVP Krishnakumar, KJ Janardhanan, VS Pradeep, Raghu, Girijavallabhan P and AR Krishnan. All of them were granted bail after their statements were recorded. The police have also registered a case against 13 people in total, under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 149, 143 (unlawful assembly), 294 (b), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 427 (mischief causing damage), reports TOI.

Meanwhile, the incident has garnered widespread criticism across the state.

Taking to Facebook, state SC/ST Minister AK Balan said, “The attitude of some fundamentalists towards the late artist Asanathan, who belongs to a backward community, is shocking. They insulted the body by campaigning that placing the dead body at Durbar Hall art gallery would pollute the temple.”

The CM also expressed his shock over the incident and condemned it through a post on Facebook, saying, “The arrogance shown by certain fundamentalists in Asanthan’s case is shocking as they have insulted an artist who belongs to a backward community. They claimed that placing his dead body at the gallery would desecrate the adjacent temple. There was deliberate effort to mislead devotees.”