My town Palakkad saw on this Sunday a protest meeting. It was against the cruel attack, presumably carried out by Islamist fundamentalist group on an upcoming writer Jimshar that took place near here on July 24th. His “crime” was giving a name to his book that did not please the Islamists.
The meeting was organised by the local chapter of Yukthivadi Sangham, the rationalist organisation. It was inaugurated by member of Indian Parliament (MP) and Communist Party of India leader M B Rajesh. The local member of Kerala legislative assembly (MLA) Shafi Parambil belonging to the Congress party also participated. Jimshar could not come due to his injuries.
Speakers were unanimous in condemning the incident. Both the politicians took care not to attack religion itself. Religious extremism should be fought with help of moderate theists, said Rajesh. Never before has religion interfered so much with cultural activities in Kerala, said Shafi. On the other hand Rationalist leader E A Jabbar correctly pointed out that this situation arose because of the inability of political parties to confront head on those theists who infringe upon freedom of expression in the name of hurt religious sentiments.
The program was well attended. The rationalists along with people of Palakkad represented by their MP and MLA made a clear and strong statement against religious extremism suppressing vibrancy of cultural life of Kerala.