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National award-winning film director assaulted; Pinarayi blames RSS

The assault drew widespread condemnation and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for the incident


National award-winning Malayalam film director T. R. Priyanandan was attacked and smeared with cow dung, in what the Kerala police described as a "lone wolf" attack near his house at Valachira in Thrissur on Friday.

The assault drew widespread condemnation and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for the incident.

He said the RSS routinely targeted intellectuals and thinkers who espoused the causes of social justice and secularism. “Kerala would not brook such trespasses against intellectual freedom and liberal thought.”, he warned.

Priyanandan told the media that he had faced death threat from the BJP for his liberal views on entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala. The BJP had organised protests in his neighbourhood and threatened to kill him if he ventured out of his house.

He alleged that a "BJP worker" waylaid him when he went to buy groceries. He was smeared with cow dung and the man fled the scene before he could retaliate, he added.

A police officer said Priyanandan appeared to have earned the ire of the Sangh Parivar for having posted a purportedly disparaging poem about Sabarimala on his account. The director subsequently deleted the poem.

BJP denies role

The BJP has meanwhile denied any role in the attack. Its spokesperson B. Gopalakrishnan told television journalists that the director could have stage-managed the attack to garner attention.

He said Priyanandan's Facebook post had hurt the religious feelings and the BJP had protested in front of his house. The party had also given a complaint to the police and sought the registration of a case against him.