Writer and theatre activist Kamal C Chavara, who was detained by the Kozhikode police on 18 December for allegedly insulting the national anthem - and later released - went on a hunger strike at the Kozhikode Government Medical College Hospital to protest the arrest of his friend Nadeer Gul Mohammed for suspected links with Maoists.
According to The Hindu, Nadeer was arrest by the Aralam police in Kannur district earlier and a case was registered against him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for distributing Maoist pamphlets among Adivasi families.
Kamal C Chavara, alias Kamalsy Prana, was taken into custody on charges of insulting the national anthem in a Facebook Post. A case was registered against him by police at Karungapally in Kollam a few days ago following a complaint from Yuva Morcha activists.
The case under 124 A (sedition) has been registered against the writer, police said.
As per the complaint filed by the Yuva Morcha activists, Kamal had posted some excerpts from his novel Smasanangulude Nottupusthakam on Facebook, which they alleged was an insult to the national anthem.
Police said Kamal would be handed over to their counterparts at Karunagapalli.
The incident comes close on the heels of the arrest of 12 persons earlier this month for not standing up when the national anthem was being played before the screening of a film at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Supreme Court had recently directed that cinema halls across the country must play the national anthem before the screening of a film and people should stand up as a mark of respect. The ruling, however, has received mixed reactions from legal experts with a few terming it as "judiciary's over-enthusiasm" and others saying playing it and respecting it won't cause any harm.
--with PTI inputs