Chalakudy/Thiruvananthapuram: Classical dancer RLV Ramakrishnan, who has been hospitalised after he consumed sleeping pills in overdose, is recovering. Ramakrishnan, 42, who is the younger brother of late film actor Kalabhavan Mani, attempted suicide following alleged discrimination by the office-bearers of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademy.
Ramakrsihnan has told the police that he tried to take his own life as he was not allowed to perform Mohiniyattam at an online event organised by the academy recently.
Ramakrishnan was rushed to the Chalakudy Taluk Hospital on Saturday after he was found lying unconscious at the training centre near his house. He was later shifted to Apollo Hospital, Karukutty near Angamaly, where he is undergoing treatment now.
Ramakrishnan had criticised the Akademy in a Facebook post on October 2. Sharing a photograph of a Kathakali performance published in Malayala Manorama, Ramakrsihanan said he was denied the opportunity to perform at an online dance festival named Sarga Bhoomika saying that the academy organised it to support artistes who are in need of financial support. However, according to Ramakrishnan, there were retired government employees and pensioners among those who performed.
He also hinted at caste discrimination by the Akademy. "Does the academy have an issue only in giving me an opportunity? I have only one thing to tell the academy that considers anything done by upper caste people as holy. I did not secure a diploma, post-diploma, MPhil and PhD in Mohiniyattam and cleared UGC-NET, by copying in exams. The Akademi is at times opportunistic," he said.
The akademy chairperson veteran actor KPAC Lalitha and secretary N Radhakrishnan Nair have come under severe criticism following Ramakrishnan's allegations.
In another Facebook post, Ramakrishnan had said that Lalitha revealed to him that Nair had told her that giving opportunity for him to perform would dent the image of the akademy.
Lalitha, however, denied the allegations, saying the charges were aimed at tainting the good intentions behind the online dance festival.
Ramakrishnan hit out against Lalitha also, saying she was lying. He said he had records of calling Lalitha eight times since applying for performing at the event till the day it was rejected.
Stating that he fully supports the Left movement, he said he has not done anything against the LDF government in Kerala. The Akademy is run by the nominees of the CPM-led Left government in Kerala.
Writers Asokan Cheruvil, a known CPM supporter, and Balachandran Chullikad have expressed solidarity with Ramakrishnan.
The controversy has taken a political turn with the opposition Congress and BJP lashing out at the state government for the incident.
Leader of the Opposition in Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, demanded that those who are responsible for Ramakrishnan's suicide attempt should be brought to the book. He urged Minister A K Balan, who handles both SC/ST and culture affairs departments, to remove the office-bearers facing accusations from their posts and order a probe into the incident.
“At a time when discrimination against Dalits are discussed across the country, the minister should look at this incident with utmost seriousness. He should not turn a blind eye towards the allegations of caste discrimination against the akademy,” he said.
BJP state president K Surendran said Ramakrishnan was forced to take the extreme step due to the caste discrimination by the akademy officials.
He said the akademy ignored the protests staged against the discrimination. He said minister A K Balan has taken an irresponsible stance on the issue.
The BJP has demanded that Lalitha and Nair be removed from the akademy administration council and slapped with charges under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The BJP activists took out a march to Lalitha's house on Sunday.