Malayalam writer and theatre activist Kamal C Chavara alias Kamalsy Prana was arrested in Kerala on Sunday and charged with sedition for allegedly insulting the national anthem in a Facebook post. The case was registered after activists of the Yuva Morcha, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s youth wing, filed a complaint against his post at the Karunagalapalli police station in Kollam a few days ago, The Indian Express reported.
People close to Chavara told Manorama that the post was an excerpt from his novel Smashanangalude Nottupustakam. He was arrested even as he was in the process of approaching a court for anticipatory bail. Social media users have said that his arrest was a violation of freedom of expression.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “The protests are initiated on communal motives. There is communal intolerance in the way the Sangh Parivar activists are labelling him [Chavara] as a Muslim anti-national,” The New Indian Express reported.
On December 12, six people were taken into custody by the police for not standing up when the national anthem was played before a screening at the International Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram. This was after the Supreme Court’s December 9 order that makes it mandatory for all moviegoers to stand up when the national anthem is played before a movie.