BANGALORE: Jnanpith awardee U R Ananthamurthy on Tuesday said he is not perturbed by the “unwanted phone calls” and rumours that his house would be attacked following his comment about Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi.
“I did not ask for police protection,” the 81-year old writer told Express. “There were rumours that my house would be attacked and I used to get phone calls from unknown people asking me when I would leave (the country), that my tickets are ready and there were some low-level talks too.”
He said his friends had informed the police about the phone calls and rumoured threats of an attack. “Goons can do mischief, you know, by shouting slogans and throwing stones. In fact, my son asked me to request the police to leave. I don’t think police protection is necessary, but my wife and others feel they should be around,” he said.
Prof Ananthamurthy had stated that he would leave the country if Modi came to power. He clarified later by calling it an “emotional outburst.” After the election results, social media was abuzz with images of tickets and travel itinerary in the writer’s name to Karachi.
“I didn’t expect it. All I meant was that I cannot bear him and I still cannot. This is not democracy. It is populism,” he said and added that this atmosphere has not affected him in any way. “Well, I have grown up as a public intellectual. I cannot leave Karnataka, you know?” he said. Reiterating his concerns over Modi, he said the 2014 election was all about glory which, he believes, deviates from previous elections. “All our elections until now, even during Indira Gandhi’s time, was mostly on ‘garibi hatao’, food for millions and poverty. This one was about glory for India, which is dangerous. The shift of the young voters is to see India in great glory, which was not so until now. It was about the shift from alleviating poverty to development as defined by Modi. I think this man will replace the ‘roti-kapda-makaan’ with something else for glory. Here is a man who can send all Bangladeshis out of India,” he explained. He went on to say that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah should not listen to the bosses in Delhi. “He should focus on regional issues. This high command business has weakened all states. If secularism was destroyed by BJP, federalism was by the Congress.”
Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Kamal Panth said that adequate police personnel have been stationed in front of URA’s home. “We will closely monitor the situation and, based on the apprehensions raised by his side, we will take a decision on whether or not to withdraw the security cover,” he said.