Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Saturday visited and extended all support to renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who was asked by a BJP leader
to shift to the Moon if he was unable to tolerate those chanting "Jai Sri Ram."
A day after Adoor and others raised voice against violence in the name of religion, BJP spokesperson Gopalakrishnan in Kerala had hit out at the auteur saying he was a respected filmmaker, but cannot 'insult' the culture of the country.
"The BJP leadership also comes out in support of such statements. This has been happening in other parts of the country. I would like to remind them that this plan won't work out in Kerala," Vijayan told the media after meeting Adoor.
"We have seen how well Keralites were united and backed Adoor. I just want to remind them about that," Vijayan said.
The chief minister said "secular forces" would continue to defend the state which will always follow a distinctive culture.
Vijayan said Adoor has got the support of the whole of Kerala. "I just wanted to reassure all the support to him," Vijayan said.
Rajya Sabha member M P Veerendra Kumar also condemned the BJP leader's statement. Veerendra Kumar said mob attacks on minorities were on the rise and all those who believe in democracy are upset with the rising incidents of lynching in the country.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala also visited and assured Adoor all support.
The BJP leader's outburst came after 49 eminent citizens, including Adoor, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern that 'Jai Shri Ram' had become a war cry with many lynchings taking place.
"If you are not keen to hear it (Jai Sri Ram), please register your name at Sriharikota and you can go to the moon", the BJP leader had told Adoor in a sarcasm-laced post, adding it will be better if he changed his name.
Concerned at the number of "religious identity-based hate crimes" in the county, the group of eminent citizens had said in the letter that 'Jai Shri Ram' has become a provocative war cry with many lynchings taking place in its name.
Celebrities from various fields, including Aparna Sen, vocalist Shubha Mudgal, historian Ramchandra Guha, and sociologist Ashis Nandy, had signed the July 23 letter.