What appears to have attracted the ire of the right-wing outfits is a conversation between two characters in the novel, where they suggest that women who go to temples are subconsciously making a declaration that they are ready for a sexual relationship.

The character also says that women, when they fail to turn up in the temple for 4 or 5 days in a month, are not ready for it on those days.

New Delhi : Breaking its silence over repeated threats to Malayalam novelist S. Hareesh, Sahitya Akademi President Chandrashekhar Kambar, speaking to IANS, condemned the threats that the novelist received from some right wing outfits, promising that as the President of Indias National Academy of Letters, he will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and draw his attention to the “pressures and attacks” writers like Hareesh are facing.

“This is very very unfortunate. I want to send out one message very clearly that the Sahitya Akademi is an institution of the writers, by the writers and for the writers, and we condemn all attacks and pressures that writers face,” Kambar, a recipient of the Jnanpith Award, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Padma Shri told IANS over telephone from Bangalore.

The publisher, DC Books, was also firm that the controversial novel “Meesha” would be available at bookstores across Kerala.

Kambar said that freedom of speech was “pivotal to the functioning of any democracy” and the Akademi condemned any act of violence, intimidation or threats not only to writers in India but anywhere in the world.

“It is with great sadness that I received the news of the writer being targeted and threatened. I want to say clearly that the Sahitya Akademi strongly condemns this act,” he said.

The 81-year-old agreed that writers and artists were easy targets of fundamental outfits and that there was a rise in vitriol against them in recent times.

“I will be writing to the Prime Minister to draw his attention to the great sadness that writers are facing. I have to write,” he said.

The novel was being serialised by Mathrubhumi Weekly before being withdrawn by the author after threats.

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