The Telangana police have “externed” well-known film critic Kathi Mahesh from Telangana for six months from Hyderabad on charges of “vitiating” the city’s atmosphere.
The Telangana police have “externed” well-known film critic Kathi Mahesh from Telangana for six months from Hyderabad on charges of “vitiating” the city’s atmosphere. During a TV show earlier, he had aired “controversial” views on Ramayana. He was also engaged in a war of words with a Hindu seer through the media. Even as the police team took him to his ancestral home in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, the seer, Paripoornananda Saraswati, was kept under house detention so as to prevent him from taking out a yatra against the critic.
Both have earlier been engaged in a war of words through a number of statements in the media after Mahesh’s comments on Ram, Sita and Ravana during a television debate recently on sedition charges against R R Babu Gogineni, a rationalist.
After the remarks, complaints were filed against Mahesh across Hyderabad by Bajrang Dal members and other Hindu groups. A case was registered against Mahesh under a number of the sections including 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings). Various civil rights groups and activists have described the decision to extern him as “harsh.”
“Banishing someone for expressing his views is ridiculous. Is Paripoornanda Saraswati dictating terms to the KCR government? Who is running the state?” Sujatha Surepally, an academician was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.
Telangana DGP M Mahender Reddy, while speaking to reporters, said that the state police had used its powers under the Prevention of Anti-Social and Hazardous Activities Act 1930 to extern Mahesh. “Kathi Mahesh’s comments have hurt the religious sentiments of a majority of the people who have expressed their anger in various ways. Mahesh misused his freedom of expression and speech which has caused acrimony and his comments have drawn adverse reactions from various quarters,” he told the paper.