Move to prosecute writer criticised

KOLLAM, FEB. 20. The Communist Party of India leader and the former editor of Janayugam, Thengamam Balakrishnan, has informed that progressive forces in Kollam have joined hands to constitute an Avishkara Swathanthriya Samrakshana Samithy to fight against superstitions.

At a press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Balakrishnan said that the Samithy would be formally inaugurated at a public meeting to be held here on February 21. He said that by giving the orders to prosecute the Rationalist Association leader and author, Sreeni Pattathanam, the State Government had created a situation where the Right of Freedom of Expression under the Constitution comes under challenge.

The prosecution orders were issued against Mr. Pattathanam on the grounds that the book on Mata Amritanandamayi that he had written was blasphemous. Mr. Balakrishnan, however, said that through the order the State Government has made an attempt to de facto recognise the institutions run by Mata Amritanandamayi as a separate religion. Even if it concerns Hinduism the fact is that a debatable issue is reigning whether Hinduism is a religion or a way of life. Even the Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union Minister of State, O. Rajagopal, had stated so only yesterday, Mr. Balakrishnan said.

He said through the book Mr. Sreeni Pattathanam had only made an attempt to create scientific awareness against superstitions.

Addressing the press conference the Dmocratic Youth Federation of India leader, P.K. Gopan, said that the prosecution orders against Mr. Pattathanam was also a move that challenges the cultural traditions of the State.

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