Malayali filmmaker Priyanandan attacked after FB post on Sabarimala

The 52-year-old director, who goes by one name, had stepped out of his home in Vallachira around 9 am Friday to go to a neighbourhood shop when a man slapped him on the face and poured a bucket of cow-dung mixed water over his head.

Actor and filmmaker Priyanandan was assaulted allegedly by a right-wing activist near his home in Thrissur district for his views on the subject of women’s entry at the Sabarimala shrine.

The 52-year-old director, who goes by one name, had stepped out of his home in Vallachira around 9 am Friday to go to a neighbourhood shop when a man slapped him on the face and poured a bucket of cow-dung mixed water over his head. When a crowd gathered around him, the attacker escaped.

“He said, ‘who are you to speak against Ayyappan? This is just the beginning’. After slapping me near the right ear and pouring the bucket of cow-dung mixed water, he ran away as soon as more people gathered. I have seen him in the area, but I’m not sure if he is an activist of the RSS or the BJP,” the director told reporters after the incident.

25-year-old Sarovar has been arrested by the police from Kodungallur town in Thrissur district in connection with the incident. Police say he has admitted to assaulting the filmmaker.

The director earlier said he believed more than one person was involved in the attack.

Following the attack, the director consulted a doctor and planned to file a police complaint in connection with the same. A team of police officials visited the home of the filmmaker to get a statement and will initiate a search operation to nab the attacker.

The incident comes in the backdrop of a controversial Facebook post by Priyanandan in which he aired his views on the Sabarimala row. After his nature of language in the post was criticised by many and sparked outrage among right-wing forces, he promptly deleted it.  Following the Facebook post, the BJP had taken out a march to his residence as well.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan responded to the incident and said, “I just heard of the attack on Priyanandan. He had been receiving a lot of threats. This is an indication of the rising intolerance in Kerala. We have to examine what happened today. Such incidents will not be encouraged here.”

Priyanandan, a recipient of the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in 2006 for the movie ‘Pulijanmam’, has directed seven films till date. His work on contemporary social issues and communism have been praised by the audience in Kerala and beyond.

Source: The Indian Express

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