Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Satyapal Singh on Tuesday said it appears to be a ‘pre-planned’ move by several prominent writers and poets to return their Sahitya Akademi awards, adding that the literary body or the Centre does not have anything to do with the recent incidents such as Kannada writer M.M. Kalburgi’s murder or Dadri lynching case.
“I would like to tell them that freedom of expression must be upheld. They are returning awards just because of few such incidents, this appears to be a pre-planned move. Whatever happened in Karnataka (Kalbugi’s murder) and Dadri, Sahitya Akademi and Central Government does not have anything to do with it,” Singh told ANI.
Punjabi poet Surjit Patar returned his Sahitya Akademi Award yesterday to register his protest against the growing incidents of intolerance and communal violence in the country.
Theatre artist Maya Krishna Rao also returned her Sangeet Natak Akademi award in protest against the Dadri lynching case.
Two eminent writers GN Devy and Aman Sethi had on Sunday announced that they were returning their Sahitya Akademi awards, joining the growing protest by scholars over “rising intolerance” and “communal” atmosphere, and the “silence” of the Sahitya Akademi over Kalburgi’s killing.
Writer returned their awards after noted Kannada author Aravind Malagatti resigned from the Sahitya Akademi’s Common Council.
On August 30, two unidentified assailants allegedly shot dead Kalburgi (77) at his residence at Dharwad in north Karnataka.