Selective freedom of expression is sheer fascism. And, the fascists always use that terminology to abuse others. Kerala is a classic example of this terrible scenario
Freedom of expression is an objective terminology in any part of the world, but in Kerala, it all depends on the person, group or party who challenge the freedom and who the victim is. In other words, they are all subjective! Examples to vindicate this assumption are abundant. The latest is the controversy surrounding a cartoon depicting the infamous Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the accused in Kerala nun rape case. The cartoon, carried by a magazine last year bagged the award of Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi. It invited the wrath of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council. It accused that some symbols shown in the cartoon are insults to Christians. Several Christian groups marched to the Akademi’s headquarters demanding the withdrawal of the award.
Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Cartoon State Award-2019 winner Subhash KK
Pat came to the anger from the ruling CPM, the self-styled protectors of the minorities anywhere under the sun. Senior CPM leader and also Cultural Minister of state AK Balan went to the extent of asking Akademi to withdraw the award. But, the Akademi, after hearing the ruling LDF’s (read CPM’s) diktat, spoke out its final stand: They stick to their gun, no question of withdrawing the award. The decision of the jury is final and irrevocable. The office bearers maintain that the Akademi is autonomous. But, Balan says, its autonomy is limited.
See the contrast! When the office bearers of Sahitya Akademi wrote and propagated unreasonable and insulting stories against PM Modi and his government, the very same comrades ruled the roost talking about the absolute autonomy of those bodies. The matter is simple: Here the complainants are minority Christians. So, obviously opposition Congress and the Congress-led UDF keep mum. BJP and Sangh-inspired organisations are the only exceptions. The same comrades praised the Kanhaiya Kumar & co for their ‘tukde tukde’ slogans in JNU campus.
It is too early to forget the CPM’s Cultural Minister M.A. Baby’s zeroing in on MF Hussein for the prestigious Raja Ravi Verma Puraskar during the LDF regime led by CPM veteran VS Achuthanandan (2006-2011). Hussein was an outstanding artist the word has produced, no doubt. But, when Baby was announcing his name for the Verma Award, crores of Hindus around the world were cursing him for his obscene paintings of the Hindu Gods and even Bharat Mata; all in the name of Freedom of Expression. Those days, the pseudo-secularists, belonging to all non-BJP parties were showering abuses on BJP and all Hindu organisations for their opposition to the anti-Hindu activities.
More than 10, 000 complaints have been lodged by Hindu leaders and workers of the Sangh-inspired movements with respect to the venomous misuse of freedom of expression against them. But, no action against any. When one Hari Nair trolled MB Rajesh when he was the CPM MP, he was arrested for ‘spreading communal passions’. But, a controversial die-hard CPM (woman) college teacher, “beef fest” fame as MB Rajesh, addressed Sangh Parivar men as “Hindu extremists” comrades celebrated it. CPM leader Sreemathy (MP at that time) told a public gathering few months before that the Hindu women used to have a dip in temple ponds before entering the temple and it is for showing their sexual assets in wet costumes before the men! Hindu leaders protested, but all fell on deaf ears.
Kerala Police have registered 119 cases for objectionable social media comments against Pinarayi Vijayan. Thirteen of them are government employees. Forty-one of them are accused of criticising CM and ministers. But, the people who posted dirty comments and pictures against BJP and Hindu leaders like Kummanam Rajasekharan and Sasikala Teacher are enjoying ‘unlimited freedom of expression’. Even girls and women are not spared if they belong to Sangh Parivar. Kummanam was not spared even when he was the Mizoram Governor. BJP woman leader Rasitha Palakkal had to stage dharna before the office of DG Police demanding action against a TV artist for his FB post insulting her womanhood. But, no action was taken against the culprit.
Kerala is the only state with the negative reputation for the maximum number of dirty trolls against the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And, obviously, most of them were allegedly posted by Kerala government employees, and even by police personnel. During the last few days, some people flaunt the cartoon of the Prime Minister depicting him as drinking cow’s urine. Obviously, it was carried by the journal published by a pro-Left teachers’ organisation! Adding insult to the injury PM was shown carrying a national flag on his chest. It is the blatant violation of the national flag protocol. And, no police action.
About ten years ago, when Pinarayi was party state secretary and VS Achuthanandan was the CM, a case was registered against a Keralite working in Qatar within 48 hours since he posted the picture of a palacious house as Pinarayi’s. Whenever CPM leaders and so-called Left leaders are trolled cases are registered and arrests occur within hours. They are also put behind bars. But, when the victims are Sangh Parivar men, the culprits are encouraged with a pat in the name of freedom of expression!
During the last five years, magazines published by several SFI-led students unions of several campuses in Kerala carried dirty and obscene comments against PM Narendra Modi. And, they all were pictured as freedom of expression. But, the same comrades shouted against Yogi Adityanath when the case was registered against someone in UP for his objectionable writings even sans studying the actual facts. Recently, Smt. Asha Lawrence, daughter of (nonagenarian) senior CPM leader MM Lawrence, was sacked from government-owned SIDECO for writing a biographical article in ‘Kesari’, RSS inspired Malayalam weekly. Earlier, she was sacked during the early days of the year when her teen-aged son participated in a hunger strike led by state BJP president Advocate PS Sreedharan Pillai. It was part of the Shabarimala agitation. But, she was taken back at that time, thanks to the popular sentiment against the government action. And. still they shout on top of their voice that they stand for freedom of expression.
Now, a lot of crosses have been installed in the revenue department’s land in Pannchalimedu within the Poonkavanam (garden) of Sabarimala. It is a tourist spot with the visitor’s entry controlled by the entry pass issued by the local revenue department. This new development is construed by the Hindu leaders as the blatant attempt to grab the revenue land. And, the Church enjoys massive support from both Congress-led Opposition UDF and the CPM-led LDF. But, when Hindu leaders protested the revenue department asked the Church to remove the crosses. But later on, the officials went back on their order, obviously due to the signal from CPM and government. Now, the Church has removed some wooden crosses, and, the wooden crosses still remain. Hindu Aikya Vedi leader Smt. Sasikala Teacher visited the place and warned the government that Hindu organisations would launch a second Nilakkal struggle. She was reminding them of the Nilakkal struggle of the 1980s when the Church opted a similar trick to grab the Poonkavanam. At last, they had to leave it, thanks to the stiff opposition from Hindus led by Sangh-inspired organisations.
Last year, when the young, dynamic civil service bureaucrats threw away the cross found in the revenue land, even though the Church leaders kept mum due to their fear for the legal actions, CM Pinarayi Vijayan blasted the bureaucrats. He said by mutilating the cross the bureaucrats had crossed the limit and hurt the feelings of crores of Christians. This sort of selective freedom of expression is sheer fascism. And, fascists always use that terminology to abuse others. Kerala is a classic example of this terrible scenario.