Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has taken exception to an article in RSS mouthpiece 'Organiser', saying it has "insulted" the people of Kerala and sought an unconditional apology from the magazine.
In a letter to the Editorial Board of Organiser, Chandy termed as "venomous" the article- 'Gods's Own Country or Godless Country- by M Surendra Nath, which appeared in its Diwali special edition, and wanted the magazine to withdraw it.
Criticising the article, Chandy said its contents "insulted the people of Kerala and Malayalees elsewhere."
"As a Malayalee who is rightly proud of the land of my nativity, and as Chief Minister of Kerala, I must defend the honour of my state and my fellow Malayalees. Let me invite your kind attention to the way your magazine has so callously insulted the people of Kerala and Malayalees elsewhere," Chandy said.
"This venomous article appeared in your Deepawali special issue.It is dark irony that the Festival of Lights special should carry such a dismal piece of writing,specially designed to malign Malayalees in and outside Kerala," he said.
"The fangs spewing the venom of communalism in different parts of India are now at the doorsteps of Kerala too," he said.
"As you may well be aware, recently the country witnessed heinous acts, prompting the President of India to issue stern warnings, four times, evidently, to the divisive forces," he said.
"Let me please enlighten the Editorial Team of Organiser that, for more than a century, Kerala has been keeping close to its heart the teachings of its noble son and great social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, who exhorted the people to shun the way of divisiveness based on caste and creed."
"Tolerance is an integral part of the Malayalee psyche. This is what prompted Cheraman Perumal, the 7th Century Hindu ruler based at Kodungallur, to give away his land for building a mosque, the first in India," he pointed out.
"Surendra Nath has tried to malign the impressive strides of progress that Kerala has achieved by making wild accusations about some social issues, which are not only seen in Kerala, but also in other parts of India and outside.
On Kerala's achievements, Chandy said "its high life
expectancy, high literacy rate, sex ratio in favour of women (which is a sure sign of the state's aversion to selective abortion), lowest maternal and infant mortality and so on, have become benchmarks for rest of the country."
"Programmes like Kudumbasree are spearheading women's self-reliance in the state. And we have an enviable track record in law and order," he said.
Kerala is a much sought after destination for domestic and international tourists, making it truly God's Own Country, he said.
In spite of all these achievements, and more, the magazine has tried to "vitiate the social harmony and cultural diversity of Kerala."
"Kerala stands by democratic principles when it takes decision on topics like eating of beef. As granted by the Constitution of India, the freedom to choose food is there for the people in Kerala as well as people in the rest of the country," he said.
"But what we see nowadays is that certain forces are flaring up communal and divisive feelings in the name of such centuries old food habits. The BJP even tried this ploy, but in vain, during the recently held elections in Bihar," he added.
The article had stated that "there is nothing called collective consciousness of Godliness amongst the Kerala Hindus." It further said "for over fifty years of communist activism in Kerala, its ideologies of violence, atheism, purported rationalism, etc. Have reached every nook and corner of the State."
The article had criticised Chandy's stand that state would seek legal action against Delhi Police for raiding the Kerala House canteen during Beef row.
It also alleged that "beef is being sold in the state by disregarding the sentiments of majority Hindu community."
Earlier, CPI-M had attacked the article with politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan stating that it was a declaration of war by the Sanghparivar on the people of Kerala.
"It is a collection of lies and insulting the people of the state," Vijayan had said adding "it was an attempt to attack the secular stand of Kerala people through concocted propaganda.