Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson B Gopalakrishnan on Thursday said filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan should “move to the Moon or another planet” if he was unable to tolerate the chanting of “Jai Shri Ram” in India.

Adoor Gopalakrishnan was one of the 49 signatories to a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that said the slogan had become a “provocative war cry” and the reason for a number of lynchings in the country.

“If you can’t tolerate the chanting of Jai Shri Ram, then it’s better to change your name and move to another planet,” B Gopalakrishnan wrote on Facebook. “Jai Shri Ram slogans will always be chanted in India and neighbouring countries. If you cannot bear to hear the slogans being raised, they register your name at Sriharikota and go to the Moon.”

The BJP leader claimed the country’s electorate had voted to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. “They will keep chanting it, if needed the slogans will be raised in front of Adoor’s house,” B Gopalakrishnan added. “That is a democratic right.”

He questioned why the filmmaker had not raised concerns when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee allegedly jailed Hindus for chanting Jai Shri Ram, and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan imposed Section 144 during the Sabarimala agitation. “Were you on a vow of silence then?”

Adoor Gopalakrishnan said the letter was not against the government or against chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, but against incidents of lynching using the “chant as a war cry”, The Indian Express reported. The filmmaker claimed to have received threat calls over the letter. “BJP wants me to go to moon because Pakistan must be filled up by now,” state minister Thomas Isaac quoted Adoor Gopalakrishnan as saying.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned “Sangh Parivar’s threat” to the filmmaker. The chief minister said no one should assume that those with contrary opinions would be ousted from the country. “There is no question of allowing any such moves,” Vijayan said in a Facebook post.

Pradesh Congress Committee President Mullappally Ramachandran said the threats against the filmmaker were highly condemnable. “Cultural figures in the country have spoken out at a time when incidents of atrocities continue to take place even after the Modi government came to power for a second term,” The News Minute quoted him as saying. “Will the BJP send them all to the moon?”

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