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Personal freedom in peril: KEN

Says demonetisation was an experiment to check people’s obedience

The Central government is trying to control even the most personal aspects of citizens by combining political power with cultural hegemony, social critic K.E.N. Kunhammed has said.

Speaking at an open forum on ‘State: Revisiting freedom’, organised by the Solidarity Youth Movement here on Wednesday, he said that demonetisation was its best example. “Demonetisation was an experiment to check the obedience of the people by intruding into their most personal economic freedom. The citizens stood in queues outside banks and ATM kiosks without even a murmur of protest to withdraw their hard-earned money.”

He said the establishment was entering into people’s most personal things such as the dress they wear and the food they eat.

“Mohammed Akhlaq was murdered for keeping meat in his fridge. The intention was to scare the people and make them subservient,” he said.

Mr. Kunhammed said that unlike during Emergency, when the government imposed censorship, now people were imposing self-censorship because of fear.

“Another scaring aspect is the business of myth making. One political aspect is pitted against another and a myth is being created. What we have today is mythocracy.” Unfortunately, no effective resistance movements were emerging because public memory was becoming short, he said.

Documentary film-makers R.P. Amudhan and K.P. Sasi and academic Ajay Sekhar, among others, spoke.