Well-known Malayalam writer and Kerala Sahitya Akademi award winner Santhosh Echikkanam was arrested by Hosdurg police in Kasargod on Saturday for allegedly insulting and making casteist slurs. The police acted on a complaint by one Chamakochiyil Balalkrishnan, from the village of Echikkanam, who belonged to the Mavilan community. W
The New Indian Express reports that he was produced before a magistrate and granted bail by the Kasargod District Court on Saturday, on the condition that he reports to the investigating officer every Saturday.
The Times of India reports that Echikkanam had applied for anticipatory bail to the Kerala High Court previously, but his request was denied and he was asked to surrender before the Hosdurg police. He surrendered before investigating officer DySP Pradeep Kumar. Police told TOI that a case had been registered against him under sections of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
TOI also reports that the casteist slurs in question were made during a panel discussion at the Kozhikode Literary Festival back in February 2017 and that Balakrishnan said he decided to file the complaint after the session was aired on a channel and uploaded on YouTube. His complaint includes a copy of the video, and claims that the comments made by Santhosh were insulting to him and his community.
TNIE reports that Santhosh made references to a â€śfriendâ€ť, without mentioning the person by name. The Deccan Chronicle reports that Santhosh was said to have made a remark about the Mavilan community, of which Balakrishnan is a member, during a discussion on his short story Panthibhojanam at the literary festival. The event was organised by a Kottayam-based publishing house. Echikkanam reportedly said that some people of â€ślowerâ€ť or oppressed caste became elites when they found fame and wealth.
Santhosh has authored several short stories, and books like Ottavathil and Komala.