Kollam: The Kerala police have taken into custody six RSS workers for manhandling Malayalam poet Kureeppuzha Sreekumar at Kottukal near Kadackal on Monday.
Deepu, Manu, Kiran, Shyam, Vishnu and Sujith had allegedly roughed up the poet on Monday immediately after the inauguration of a library.
When he got off the stage, the group surrounded him and questioned him over his speech. However, he managed to get into his car and left the place. The gang, however, banged on the car and hurled abuses at him.
Kureeppuzha had alleged that RSS workers were behind the attack as he had criticized Hindutva forces in his speech. The poet has lodged a complaint with the Kadackal police and a case was registered against 15 RSS workers.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan too had instructed the Kollam rural SP to take strict action against the culprits. Condemning the incident, Pinarayi in a Facebook post said on Tuesday that the government would take strong action against those who tried to silence the freedom of speech.
The issue was also raised in the Kerala Assembly Tuesday.
Replying to the submission on the matter by Mullakkara Ratnakaran of the CPI, the chief minister said that a group of 15 RSS-BJP workers led by a panchayat member Dipu were behind the incident.
Cases have been registered against 15 people under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and six have been arrested so far, he said.
There has been an increase in attacks on the freedom of expression in the country since the past few years, Pinarayi said, adding that M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh had lost their lives due to such intolerance.
Renowned writer M T Vasudevan Nair and filmmaker Kamal were among those who had been threatened. Such incidents would be dealt with sternly and will not be allowed to be repeated, he said.
The government will provide necessary protection to ensure that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, the chief minister said.
Kerala stands out as an island of hope, when attacks on freedom of expression are taking place elsewhere in the country, he said.
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