Joining the issue related to controversial remarks against Mahatma Gandhi by writer Arundhati Roy, Kerala Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi here has disapproved the police move to register a case against her, but has asked the writer to introspect on what she had said.
"We do not agree with registering a case against Roy for her remark against Gandhi. In a democracy, everyone has the freedom to agree and disagree," Kerala Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi Working Chairman N Radhakrishnan and Secretary K G Jagadeesh told reporters here today.
However, Radhakrishnan, also the Chairman of Indian Council of Gandhi Studies, said criticism should not become an 'insult' and disregard history.
"No one should question the freedom of expression enjoyed by Roy, But let her introspect and see whether what she said about Gandhi is correct or not. It is not good to say something just for the sake of getting a few public clap," he said.
Stating that they do not think that Gandhi was a person beyond criticism, he said Gandhi was a person whose works have been subjected to criticism and different types of assessment since he started in public life in South Africa in 1894.
"So criticism of Gandhi is not a new thing and there is nothing wrong in that. But it should not be one that spread canard and distorting history", he added.
Police last week had sought the video clippings of the controversial speech made by Roy at the Kerala University last month to ascertain whether a case should be taken against her.
Speaking at the University here, Roy had made highly critical remarks against Gandhi and resented institutions like universities being named after him while neglecting leaders from depressed sections of the society.
She made these remarks while delivering a lecture in honour of Kerala's 19th century Dalit liberation leader Ayyankali.
The police action sparked a row when some Dalit activists voiced their protests alleging it amounted to infringement on the freedom of expression.
Various political parties, including the state unit of the Congress, have condemned Roy's remarks alleging it amounted to insulting the national icon.
Kerala Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi has also organised a week-long discussion on 120 years of Gandhi Assessment and Evaluations from August 9 to 15, Radhakrishnan said.
KPCC President V M Sudheeran would inaugurate the debate on August 9. State Chief Minister Oommen Chandy would take part at the valedictory function on August 15.
Nobody is denying her the right of free speech. Regretably, she is using the public space to make the comments unsuitable to her as well. Indeed, even Gandhi himself has criticised himself on many occassions and his books do admit to that. What is more important is that people like Roy who enjoy the goodwill of the Indian people must not misuse the freedom. She must act responsibly - I would contend that unlike many people she has even more responsibility on her shoulders when making public comments.