India: anti-caste activist booked for a social media postEvent
- Initial Date
- Jun 15, 2021
- Event Description
Kannada actor and anti-caste activist Chetan Kumar said the Basavanagudi police in Bengaluru questioned him on June 14 (Wednesday) for four hours in the case where he was booked for allegedly "hurting religious beliefs through his recent tweets on Brahminism. The actor said that the police summoned him for his posts on social media, where he criticised Brahminism, quoting Dr BR Ambedkar and Periyar.
Following his four-hour interrogation, the actor took to Twitter and said, "I stood by truth and democracy. I am proud to contribute in my own small ways to the global movement for equality, justice and non-violence. Fight goes on!" On June 15, the actor received a notice from the Basavanagudi police station to appear for inquiry about his social media posts against Brahminism.
There are two first information reports (FIRs) registered against Chetan Kumar in two police stations — Ulsoor Gate and Basavanagudi police stations. According to The Hindu, while Brahmin Development Board filed the complaint with Ulsoor police station, a community organisation filed the complaint with Basavanagudi. He has been booked under section 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code.
The Karnataka Brahmin Development Board had submitted a complaint against Chetan to the Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant. The Board claimed that the actor's views hurt "religious beliefs." The complaint against him read that Chetan's remarks were “making imputations prejudicial to national integration.” Shivaram Hebbar, the Minister of Labour Department, too, alleged that Chetan hurt the Brahmin community’s sentiments and insulted the Constitution. The Minister also called for action against the Kannada actor.
The actor had written posts against Brahminism two weeks ago, in response to actor Upendra's remarks that talking about caste perpetuates it. On June 6, the actor tweeted a photo of himself and captioned it, "Brahminism is the negation of the spirit of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity... We must uproot Brahminism — Ambedkar. While all are born as equals, to say that Brahmins alone are highest and all others are low as untouchables is sheer nonsense. It is a big hoax — Periyar."
Chetan's stand has earned him support from several Ambedkarites and anti-caste activists. Amid the complaints, Chetan Kumar said that he will continue to talk about caste. The actor said that he has been highlighting and placing the anti-caste ideas of Ambedkar, Periyar, and Kuvempu for a decade in a modern context.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Minority rights defender
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 15 June 2021, Chetan Kumar, artist and minority rights defender, was booked and interrogated by the police following two complaints being filed in response to his social media status calling for equality in Bangalore, India.