Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala BJP spokesperson B Gopalakrishnan placed his foot squarely in his mouth on Thursday by asking renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan to think about moving to the Moon if he was unable to tolerate those chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram‘.

In a Facebook post, Gopalakrishnan told Adoor, “If you are not keen to hear it (Jai Sri Ram), please register your name at Sriharikota and you can go to the moon.” The outburst was directed at the filmmaker as he was among the 49 dignitaries who had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on incidents of lynching across the country.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Malayalam film fraternity supported Adoor and condemned the BJP leader’s comments. In response to Gopalakrishnan’s attack, Adoor said he would go to the Moon if he got a ticket. He added that the letter voicing concern was neither against the government, nor against those chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’, but against incidents of lynching using the ‘chant as a war cry’. He also claimed to have got threatening calls over that letter.

Another signatory, actor Kaushik Sen also claimed to have received a threatening call. “Yesterday, I received a call from an unknown number where I was threatened with dire consequences if I don’t stop raising my voice against lynchings and intolerance. I was told that I would be killed if I don’t mend my ways,” he said.

On its part, the Government has dismissed these concerns. Union Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi called it part 2 of the 2014 “award wapsi”. “We saw the same thing after 2014 (Lok Sabha polls) in the name of “award wapsi”. This is just part two of that,” he had said.

On July 23, the dignitaries, through their letter, had said that there was “no democracy without dissent”, and that people should not be branded as “anti-nationals” for voicing dissent. “Lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately. We were shocked to learn from National Crime Records Bureau reports that there have been no less than 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in 2016,” it said.