On Saturday, controversial poet Srijato Bandyapadhyay faced massive protests in Silchar, Assam, after several people opposed his participation in the event as a mark of protest against one of his poems ‘Condom on Trishul’, which had hurt Hindu religious sentiments.
Srijato Bandyapadhyay, who was present at Silchar in Barak Valley, to attend a literary discussion “Eso Boli” (Come, let’s speak up) on Saturday evening, faced protests from several people against his 2017 poem titled ‘Abhishaap’ (Curse), where had used terms like “Condoms on Trishul”. The last line of his poem, the 42-year-old poet had written, “As long as women are raped by digging up their graves, condoms should be worn on Trishul”.
Reportedly, after facing severe protests, the controversial Bengali poet went on to claim that the protests were just an expression of “rising levels of intolerance” across the country. He further added that intolerance was spreading in the country and he did not feel secure in his own country.
“People like us have no freedom of speech. The axe is falling on free thinkers. In my state I am secure, but we have to often go out for cultural programmes and recital sessions. I am shocked. I had not anticipated there will be such an incident in a place like Silchar. There was no inkling beforehand. There is an increasing effort to curb freedom of expression in the country,” he told reporters in Kolkata.
Following the incident, Mamata Banerjee government rushed to protect the 42-year old Bengali poet as a huge contingent of policemen arrived at the spot to rescue the poet. The policemen escorted him to a local circuit house which was guarded throughout the night. Later, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reportedly called him and assured him of security.
Bandyapadhyay’s poem had created a massive controversy for hurting the sentiments of Hindus and in March a complaint was also lodged against the poet in Siliguri. His poem had angered several people in the state who had called out his hypocrisy for deliberately ignoring Muslim appeasement policies of Mamata Banerjee government while targetting the BJP government. He is also infamously known as “Condom Poet” for his controversial poems.
It has been a trend in the country to deliberately target and defame Hindu religion, its culture and symbols in the guise of freedom of expression. Gross and obscene images of Hindu gods and religious symbols have been floating around on the social media recently. In April, a left-wing woman named Durga Malathi had posted a few paintings, which depicted the Trishul in an obscene and derogatory manner. The attack on Sabarimala by the Communist Kerala government can be seen as a part of a larger conspiracy to try and subdue the upsurging of political and ideological awareness among Hindus.