Arrest the first of its kind, say intellectuals; demand author’s release

Author of the controversial Kannada novel ‘Dhundi’, Yogesh Master, was arrested on Thursday evening after many Hindu outfits objected to the portrayal of the god Ganesh in the work.

A complaint was lodged by Pranavananda Swami and some Hindu outfits had threatened to launch protests demanding withdrawal of the book which was released on August 21. Protesters had objected to the book as they said it contained that they called “objectionable material”.

A senior police official said that the cases had been booked two days before the arrest. The author was booked under sections 295 A IPC (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 298 IPC (Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feeling).

In the meanwhile, writers and intellectuals have strongly condemned the arrest of Yogesh Master and demanded his immediate release. They have said that an arrest of this kind — of an author for writing what is considered as being offensive to a religious faith — is unprecedented in Karantaka.

Writer Banjagere Jayaprakash, who released Dhundi, strongly criticised the arrest and said that there were democratic methods to deal this kind of a situation. “Arrest is not an answer to dissent or controversy,” he said. “The incident is the first of its kind. The police did not arrest me, when my work was embroiled in a controversy.”