High drama unfolded on day 2 of the Kerala School Kalolsavam in Alappuzha when writer and teacher, Deepa Nisanth, who was recently involved in a poem plagiarism row arrived as a judge for an event on Saturday. The Kerala School Kalolsavam is an annual art festival organised by the state government for school students.
Deepa, a Malayalam teacher at the Kerala Varma College in Thrissur was one among the three judges invited for a Malayalam essay writing competition held as part of the Kalolsavam. Deepaâ€™s arrival as a judge comes just a few days after she was accused of stealing writer S Kaleshâ€™s poem and publishing it in her name.
Various student unions such as the ABVP, KSU as well as the Youth Congress had raised slogans demanding that Deepa Nisanth not judge the event. However according to media reports, authorities say that Deepa was invited as a judge prior to the plagiarism controversy erupted. They also clarified that this competition has nothing to do with the controversy and that Deepa will be a part of the judgeâ€™s panel.
Women activists of the Kerala Students Union (KSU), the studentâ€™s wing of the Kerala Congress marched towards the Kerala Government Service Co-operative Society Bank, where the three judges will be evaluating the essays. The women who were shouting slogans such as â€śgo back! go back!â€ť were moved away from the venue by the police officials in their vehicle.
Before KSUâ€™s protest, members of the ABVP, studentâ€™s wing of the BJP had also protested against Deepaâ€™s participation as a judge.
The controversy erupted last week after Kalesh revealed that a poem which he had written and published in 2011 was recently posted in Deepaâ€™s name in a journal run by the AKPCTA (All Kerala Private College Teacher's Association). Following this revelation, Deepa had initially refused to apologise and had also stated that she was being unnecessarily targeted. It was only later that she revealed that it was her friend and activist, MJ Sreechithran who had given her the poem asking her to publish it in her name.