An upcoming Malayalam writer was allegedly attacked by a group of people for using the word ‘padachon’ (the creator) in the title of his soon to be released book at Koottanad in the district.
‘Padachon’ is a colloquial Malayalam word used to refer to ‘God, the Creator’. It is used generally by the Muslim community in the state.
The victim, P Jimshar, had recently announced his new short story collection titled ‘Padachonte Chitrapradarshanam’ (The Painting Exhibition by the Creator), to be published by state-based DC Books.
According to police, four people allegedly attacked and beat him up late last night at Koottanad when he was waiting for a bus.
One of the four men had approached him first and started conversing with him.
The others joined himlater and soon began to beat Jimshar, asking him “how dare you write about Padachon”, police told PTI, quoting the writer’s complaint.
The 26-year-old writer, who sustained injuries, was soon rushed to a nearby hospital, where he is undergoing treatment.
Police said that a case was registered under IPC Section 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and IPC 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), IPC 34 (criminal acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), against the attackers. They said a hunt was on to nab them.
Jimshar’s friend Akhil Ansar, who spoke on behalf of the writer, said they suspected that the attack was a planned one and some “fundamental elements” were behind it.
The writer had received threat calls and messages on WhatsApp, ever since he announced the new book, he said.
“My story may or may not be about God, but that can be debated. But physically attacking me without even reading the story is a crime. We are part of a culture where renowned author Vaikom Muhammad Basheer had named his book, Oru Bhagavad Gitayum Kure Mulakalum,” said Jimshar.
“Jimshar told us that the attackers asked him how dare he write about Padachon. So he suspected the involvement of some fundamental elements who are upset with the usage of ‘Padachon’ in the book’s title,” Ansar told PTI.
He said Jimshar had recently put the cover page of the book as the display picture of his WhatsApp account.
“Since then he had been receiving threat messages and calls,” he said.
A collection of nine short stories ‘Padachonte Chitrapradarshanam’ is expected to be released at a function in Ernakulam on August 5.
The attack against the writer evoked sharp criticism on social media against “cultural policing” and “intolerance”.
Jimshar’s book was also supposed to feature at a DC book festival on August 5.
He also told TNM that he had started receiving threat calls and messages after he publicized the book on social media. The police however, is skeptical about the case. They said they would have to first verify the authenticity of the complaint.
“Based on Jimshar’s complaint, we have registered a case against four people – including one Jafar and three others. We are also looking into other motivations for the attack,” said Rajesh Kumar, House Officer, Chalissery police station, adding that he good give more details only after a proper enquiry.