Writer and theatre activist Kamal C Chavara, who was arrested on Sunday on charges of insulting the national anthem, is on an indefinite fast at the Kozhikkode medical college hospital since Monday where he was admitted. In a conversation with Hindustan Times correspondent Ramesh Babu, Chavara explains the whole controversy. Excerpts:
Why did the police arrest you?
I have no idea. The book they mentioned (‘Smashanangalude Notupustakam’) was written two years ago and I posted excerpts of the novel two weeks back. My work is not banned also. Before my arrest police resorted to all gimmicks to pressurise me — my wife was threatened and abused verbally. My house was also raided. I never absconded as they claimed. I was arrested like a criminal. A police officer even asked me why I married an Adivasi girl and took her caste name repeatedly while questioning me.
Did you really insult the national anthem?
I don’t think so. If it is so, let the law of the land take its own course. I am not scared of the case. But the way it was done really shocked me. They tortured me mentally. Even some of my friends who came to help me at the hospital were rounded up citing three-year-old cases. Left parties led the agitation when JNU leaders like Kanhaiya Kumar were booked under the sedition law. I was also booked under the same law. I never expected this from a Left government. My father is still an active worker of the CPI(M).
Who gave the complaint against you?
I have no idea. Someone told me leaders of the Bharatiya Yuva Morch gave a complaint to the state DGP citing my Facebook post.
You are on fast now. What do you plan to do next?
I will continue my fast till I get a satisfactory explanation: why I was treated like this and why my friends were booked? A writer is not a criminal. He’s the conscience-keeper of the society and it is natural to reflect the present day world in his works. I personally feel dissension is not a crime, rather it makes our democracy more vibrant.