Arrest of Kandhamal book author sparks protestsDecember 10th, 2008 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS
Bhubaneswar, Dec 10 (IANS) Rights activists, authors and others have come together in Orissa to oppose the arrest of a journalist for writing a book on violence in Kandhamal that police say is provocative and intended to disturb communal harmony.Lenin, the editor of the quarterly magazine Nishan, was arrested Monday for his book “Dharma Nare Kandhamalare Raktara Banya” (Flood of blood in Kandhamal in the name of religion). Two others who helped him print and circulate the book are also under arrest and jailed in Bhubaneswar after their bail pleas were rejected.
“Police have tortured my husband, violating all basic human rights,” his wife Rumita Kundu said as protests were organised in Bhabanipatna town in Kalahandi district Tuesday.
On Thursday, eminent citizens in the state capital are planning a protest outside the governor’s residence Raj Bhavan.
“Everybody has the right to express his thoughts. It is an attempt by the government to suppress writers who have independent voices,” eminent writer and columnist Bibhuti Patnaik said.
Added civil rights activist Sudhir Patnaik: “It is a move to curb free, frank and fearless speech of writers and journalists.”
The Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), journalist associations and writers associations across the state have also issued a statement condemning the arrest of Lenin.
Police has claimed it has seized at least 700 copies of the book from the printing press.
Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23.
While the police blamed Maoists for the killings, some Hindu organisations held Christians responsible for the crime and launched attacks on the community.
Thousands of Christians were forced to flee from their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. About 8,000 people are still living in government-run relief camps in the district.