While some writers put up a brave front, others opt for police protection
Over the years, many thinkers and progressive writers who have had to face threats for their writings and remarks, have been offered police protection by the state government. While some have accepted it, some others have refused protection.
BENGALURU: Over the years, many thinkers and progressive writers who have had to face threats for their writings and remarks, have been offered police protection by the state government. While some have accepted it, some others have refused protection. This March, writer Yogesh Master was attacked at Davanagere, who smeared his face with black oil. Yogesh was there to attend a programme organised in memory of Gauri’s father and writer P Lankesh. In 2013, Yogesh was arrested for his remarks on Lord Ganesha in his book ‘Dhundi’, which was later banned. He used to get threat calls even after the book was banned.
“After shifting from Jnana Bharati to Byadarahalli three months back, I sought police protection as I used to get threat calls. I gave a letter to Jnana Bharati police station, but nothing was done. Since Tuesday, a policeman has been deputed near my new house,’’ he said. “When I approached the police, they did not respond. Now that someone died, they realised the danger they gave an unarmed cop,’’ he said.
Another controversial writer, K S Bhagwan, was given police protection after rationalist Dr M M Kalburgi’s death in August 2015. Bhagwan had made remarks about burning a few pages of Bhagavad Gita following which he started getting threat s. “I used to get two to three threat calls in a month. They told me to stop speaking in public. After I went to the police, I was given protection,’’ he said. He continues to have police protection.
Bhagwan blamed the state government for not cracking the Kalburgi murder. “If they do not take the case seriously, the killers will not be scared,” he added.In 2015, writer Chethana Theerthahalli was also among those who got threatening messages. She was threatened with rape, acid attack and other ‘dire consequences’ on Facebook. She had written articles questioning Hindu customs in magazines and also supported beef consumption. “I got threatening messages on Facebook and I lodged a complaint. For more than a year, beat policemen would be present near my house. Later, they asked me to renew the protection and I refused. Now, after Gauri’s incident, they approached me again, but I said no,’’ she said.
Writer Kum Veerabhadrappa had to leave his hometown in Ballari district and stay in Bengaluru for 10 days after he got threat calls. “After I had spoken against a Lingayat pontiff, some people issued threats. This is a systematic method to silence those who do not agree with their ideology,’’ he said. Veerabhadrappa said he does not need police protection.
Cops told to protect litterateurs
Faced with the issue of ensuring safety of rationalists and thinkers, CM Siddaramaiah directed the police to offer them protection. Sources said police have a list of 20 people. Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad had turned down police protection but is likely to be approached. Other people are historians Chidananda Murthy and Ramachandra Guha, Prof K S Bhagwan, writer Baragur Ramachandrappa, Prof Siddalingaiah, author Banjagere Jayaprakash and writer K Marulasiddappa.