Kanam flays decision to review award for cartoon on Franco

Home-cooked food is CPI chief Kanam Rajendran's favourite
Kanam Rajendran loves the special roasted chicken curry cooked by his wife Vanaja as much as he loves the revolutionary fervour.

Thiruvananthapuram: Condemning the government’s direction to the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi to review its decision to select a cartoon depicting the rape-accused former Bishop Franco Mulakkal for its annual award, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran has said that no minister has the power to interfere in the decision made by an autonomous body.

He was reacting to the direction issued by Culture Minister A K Balan to re-examine the selection of the cartoon after the Church took objection to the decision.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Thursday, Kanam also asked whether the government would withdraw the film awards if a similar complaint arose. All autonomous bodies should be independent, and free from political interference. It is the declared policy of the Left Democratic Front, he added.

Bishop demands apology

Meanwhile, Bishop Verghese Chakkalakkal of the Calicut diocese urged the government to withdraw the award given to the cartoon which ‘humiliates the Christian religious symbols’ and also sought an apology by the akademi officials.

“Illustrating certain Christian religious symbols in a denigrating fashion in the name of artistic freedom is unacceptable. It is unfortunate that a state-run institution has decided to honour the same work,” he said.

Threat call for Akademi secretary

Thrissur: Kerala Lalithakala Akademi secretary Ponnyam Chandran received an anonymous threat call on Thursday, a day after the selection of the controversial cartoon for the award.

The caller, who introduced himself as a representative of the Catholic church, allegedly used abusive language and warned him of dire consequences during the conversation which lasted two minutes, according to the complaint lodged by Chandran with the Thrissur East police station.

A case has been registered and the phone number has been handed over the cybercell to identify the caller, officials said.

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