Thiruvananthapuram: A Malayali actor and filmmaker was assaulted, allegedly by a right-wing activist, for his views on the contentious issue of women of all ages being allowed entry into Sabarimala temple, said reports on Friday. (Also read: ‘Not 51, Only 17 Women of Menstruating Age Entered Temple,’ Kerala Tells SC)

Priyanandan was assaulted near his home Thrissur home on Friday morning. district for his views on the subject of women’s entry at the Sabarimala shrine. Reports said he had just stepped out of his home in Vallachira around 9 AM when a man slapped him before pouring a bucketful of cow dung over his head.

The attacker managed to escape as a crowd milled around Priyanandan. “He said, ‘Who are you to speak against Ayyappan? This is just the beginning’. After slapping me near the right ear and pouring the bucket of cow-dung mixed water, he ran away as soon as more people gathered. I have seen him in the area, but I’m not sure if he is an activist of the RSS or the BJP,” the director was quoted as saying by a leading daily.

Later, 25-year-old Sarovar was arrested from Kodungallur town in Thrissur district in connection with the incident. Police say the youth has confessed of having attacked the filmmaker.

The incident follows a Facebook post by Priyanandan in which he voiced his views on the Sabarimala row. After the content of his post, particularly the language was criticised by many, the 52-year-old filmmaker deleted it. Reports say that the BJP had even taken out a march outside his home over the post.

Responding to the attack on the filmmaker, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “He had been receiving a lot of threats. This is an indication of the rising intolerance in Kerala. We have to examine what happened today. Such incidents will not be encouraged here.”

Priyanandan, a recipient of the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in 2006 for ‘Pulijanmam’, has directed seven films. His work on contemporary social issues and communism have particularly been praised by audience.