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SAHMAT Condemns Threats, Protests Against Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

October 3, 2017 8:16 pm Category: GALLERY, SLIDER NEWS A+ / A-

“Civil society must stand up against this goondaism and demand for security for Prof Kancha Iliah as well as punishment to those issuing open threats, before we have another Gauri Lankesh.”

Kanche Iaiah and GadderNew Delhi: The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) has released a statement condemning the death
threats to and “social and political hounding” of political scientist, writer and activist Kancha
Ilaiah Shepherd.

Arya Vysya associations have recently been protesting against Shepherd’s book, Samajika Smugglurlu
Komatollu, claiming that the title of the book and some of its content are derogatory and demeaning.
The BJP has officially condemned the author and the book, while a parliamentarian of the Telugu Desam
Party from the Vysya community has sought a change in the laws of the country so the author can be
hanged publicly.

SAHMAT’s statement says:

The social and political hounding of Kancha Iliah Shepherd with death threats is another dark page in
the recent turn of events, where intellectuals in the country have been at the mercy of hoodlums and
fanatics of all hue and color, while the state is a mere bystander. In Professor Iliah’s case the state
has gone one step further where Telangana home minister has threatened him with legal action while
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister has stated that he will ensure that his book which at the centre of
‘controversy’ will not be allowed in Andhra Pradesh. Prof Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is the Director,
Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at the Maulana Azad National Urdu
University, Hyderabad. The booklet in question titled ‘Samajik Smugglurlu Komatullu’ (Vysyas are social
smuggler) is a reprinted version of a chapter titled ‘Social Smuggler’ from Prof Iliah’s earlier work
called ‘Post-Hindu India’ (2009).

The booklet at the center of this row, explains the age old centralization of wealth in the hands of
baniya caste in cohoots with Brahmins at the expense of dalit-bahujans and Adivasis. It also explains
how due to the monopolization of the wealth by the upper castes makes them completely oblivious to the
socioeconomic status of dalit-bahujans and Adivasis and regard them as ‘meritless’. The umbrage taken
by the Vysyas community of Andhra and Telangana on the said text, speaks volumes about their social and
political dominance and how the same could be used to silence the opposing voice. This reaction of the
Vysyas community also underlines the rising intolerance in the country where a work of critical
importance and academic repute is physically opposed instead of its being debated, if required.

…The sheer impunity enjoyed by these blood thirsty goons, patronized by their political masters is
increasingly being bolstered by the conservative and jingoistic posturing of Narendra Modi government
at the centre. After the brutal murder of Govind Pansare, Narendra Dhabolkar, Kalburgi and the recent
brutal killing of Gouri Lankesh, this tide of hounding the intellectuals to their brutal death is
becoming a new normal. Prof Iliah’s name is the latest in this order, where the act of writing has
become threat to the status quo of the dominant castes. Lest we as civil society become conditioned to
such targeting and threatening of our intellectuals, we must stand together against this calculated and
deliberate suppression of critical voices of our society- voices which are absolutely central to the
functioning of a political democracy. Civil society must stand up against this goondaism and demand for
security for Prof Kancha Iliah as well as punishment to those issuing open threats, before we have
another Gauri Lankesh.
By Shepherd: Explaining the ‘Social Smuggling’ That Has Angered Arya Vysyas in Two States

On September 11, Shepherd filed a complaint at the Osmania University police station in Hyderabad after
allegedly receiving threatening phone calls. Shepherd then told the Indian Express, “Since yesterday,
many unknown phone calls kept coming and when I answered, they abused me. The International Arya-Vysya
Sangham headed by K. Ramakrishna condemned my writings on a TV channel. Someone threatened to cut my
tongue. My effigies have been burnt. I feel terribly threatened by their abuses, phone calls and
messages. If anything happens to me they will be responsible”.

SAHMAT Condemns Threats, Protests Against Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd Reviewed by on . “Civil society must stand up against this goondaism and demand for security for Prof Kancha Iliah as well as punishment to those issuing open threats, before we “Civil society must stand up against this goondaism and demand for security for Prof Kancha Iliah as well as punishment to those issuing open threats, before we Rating: 0
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