Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala government today decided to freeze a controversial order mandating that prior permission should be taken by employees for pursuing artistic endeavours. The order in this regard was issued by Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, a statement from the CM’s office said.
Chandy also directed Chief Secretary, Jiji Thomson, to immediately file a report on the circumstances leading to the issuing of the controversial order. Earlier, as controversy erupted, Chandy had told reporters: It has been there for years. But we will examine it and if there is need to modify it, will do the same.
Describing the recent order as an infringement on their creative independence, government employees under the banner of Joint Council of state service organisations, had taken out a march to the Secretariat this evening with black ribbons tied to their mouth.
Information Minister, K C Joseph, also said Government will not take any steps to crush the creative freedom of employees. We will examine it. As per the order issued recently by the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department, government employees who wish to publish a book will have to give it in writing details about the publisher, the person who writes the preface, besides even the price of the book.
Curbs had also been laid on publishing of essays, writing research papers, being part of news and feature programmes in television channels, private radio programmes, game shows, film programmes, televised sports competitions and amateur drama.
As per the order, prior clearance has also to be got for reading news or participating in television debates other than in Doordarshan and Akashvani. The order had also mandated the employees to give an affidavit stating that there was no anti-national content and criticism of government’s policies were there in the book.
Opposition leader in the assembly and marxist veteran, V S Achuthanandan, had described the government curbs as ‘cultural fascism’. The order was reminiscent of emergency days and should be immediately withdrawn, he said. Hitting out at Chandy, Achuthanandan said the order showed that he was a follower of the Sangh Parivar which allegedly stands for personification of cultural fascism.