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Dalit writer assaulted, warned that fingers will be chopped off

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Bengaluru :Amid continuing countrywide protests by writers over “rising intolerance”, a young Dalit activist and writer was allegedly attacked by unidentified men whom he suspects to be right wing activists, for his alleged “anti-Hindu” writings in central Karnataka and warned that his fingers will be chopped off if he does not stop it.

Huchangi Prasad, a 23-year-old student and author of a book ‘Odala Kichchu’ which speaks against the caste system, alleged that he was assaulted on Wednesday and threatened at Davangere that his fingers would be chopped off for writing against Hinduism.

“On October 21, late night, a group of eight to nine persons came to SC/ST hostel where I reside and told me that my mother was unwell. Worried I followed them. They took me to a place and started threatening and assaulting me for writing against Hinduism and caste system,” Prasad told PTI.

Prasad, a journalism student, alleged, “They also smeared kumkum on my face and threatened to cut my fingers for my writings.”

Prasad said he received some minor injuries in the attack, adding, “They (the attackers) said I’m born as Dalit, because of sins I had committed in my previous life.”

Asked whether the men belonged to any particular group, Prasad said, “From their words it was almost clear that they are from some right wing group but I’m not completely sure.”

A case has been registered against unidentified persons at RMC Yard Police Station in this regard. Police said they are on a lookout for the suspects.

“A complaint was filed by Prasad yesterday alleging eight to ten persons had attacked him and attempted to kill him,” a police official involved in the investigation said.

He said case has been registered under various sections of Indian Penal Code, including 307 (attempt to murder), as also under sections of the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act.

The incident has occurred at a time when at least 35 writers from across the country have announced their decision to return their Sahitya Akademi awards to protest the “rising intolerance” in the country and the killing of Kannada writer and rationalist M M Kalburgi at Dharwad in north Karnataka.

Another Kannada free-thinker and writer K S Bhagwan had also received threats for his remarks against Hinduism and its Gods which the right wing groups saw as “offensive” and “provocative” hurting Hindu sentiments.

The writers facing threats have been provided security after the killing of Kalburgi who was shot dead at point blank range by two men, who are still at large, in August.

PTI