Chennai: Perumal Murugan, whose book 'Madhorubagan' was withdrawn from the market after coming under attack by Hindutva and caste outfits, had to leave his hometown after police "suggested him to exile himself", an advocate alleged today.
Perumal Murugan confided that he left his hometown of Tiruchengode in Namakkal district only after police "suggested him to exile himself", advocate G R Swaminathan, also Assistant Solicitor General at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, alleged in a statement.
The author had to leave his home town last week following protests against his novel.
Swaminathan had accompanied the author for the 'peace talks' called by revenue officials at Namakkal on Monday last where the author had to tender an unconditional apology. Following the peace meeting, the author had in a Facebook post said "Perumal Murugan, the writer is dead.."
Asked whether he was the advocate for Perumal Murugan, Swaminathan told PTI "I appear for Kalachuvadu which published the book and its editor Kannan. I was requested to accompany Murugan for the peace talks and I did. The statement is my account of what happened during the peace talks. I accompanied Murugan as a friend."
When contacted, Namakkal SP S R Senthil Kumar was not available for comments on the allegations made against the district police.
Police had instructed the author not to come directly to the Collectorate but to remain in his house until they sent an escort for the talks, he claimed. "At my instance, Perumal Murugan said he would come directly to the Collectorate accompanied by me alone."
Once they reached the venue and were being taken for talks, the author was throughout surrounded by a group of police constables, he said.
The District Revenue Officer, who presided over the talks did not arrange a face-to-face meeting with protestors but met them separately, he claimed. She also said the expression "sincere regret" was not acceptable to protestors and wanted to change it as "unconditional apology".
"I could see that Perumal Murugan was in real agony.. I could see that Perumal Murugan was literally crumbling within. He literally was on the edge of frustration. He said 'write anything, do anything, I accept'. I tried to pacify him but it was of no avail," he said.
"The police did not support Perumal Murugan even a wee bit. The District Administration totally let him down. According to them, it was a pure law and order issue..., Swaminathan said.
He said both the author and his wife are employed in Namakkal. "They have their roots in Tiruchengode. They just couldn?t stand the thought and reality that the entire town could go against them".
Meanwhle, DMK Treasurer M K Stalin tweeted, "Tamil Writer Perumal Murugan is targeted by fundamentalists whose aim is to create a rift among the peace and freedom-loving people of TN."
The publisher of the book had yesterday said that copies of 'Madhorubagan' have been withdrawn and would be up for sale only after deletions that have been promised by the author.
The novel was first publised in 2010 in Tamil. The English version "One part woman" was released in 2013.
It revolves around the travails of a childless couple and also deals with consensual sex between any man and any childless woman to conceive during the annual temple car festival at Tiruchengode.
Protests were held by those opposed to the book and counter protests staged by supporters of the author in the Tamil literary world and CPI(M).
At the 'peace meeting', the author made an unconditional apology and undertook to withdraw unsold copies of the novel.