As the political storm continues over Sahitya Akademi award winners returning their prizes in protest against the criminal actions of right-wing groups across the nation, Kannada writer Kum Veerabhadrappa also returned his award.
Earlier, eminent Rajasthani writer Nand Bhardwaj had returned his Sahitya Akademi award. "Writers who feel that intolerance should not be a part of our lives should come forward. System should be more sensitive, more responsive, and committed to democratic principles," he said.
Reacting to this, well-known satirical Hindi poet Ashok Chakradhar said, "Being a Sahityakar I should respect the decision of my community. Any communal issue is not right but the writers should bring this out through their writings. There are writers organization and if you protest through it, it will be known that the writers are protesting collectively. But if the writers are returning their awards, I don't feel it right."
Tweeting on the issue of writers and artistes returning their awards, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took on PM Modi saying, "Over 25 of our cultural icons return awards in protest against growing intolerance in country & now civil society boycotts CIC convention. Instead of reaching out to them and pro-actively assuaging their fears, Modi Sarkar as usual is trying to find faults with them. The insensitivity of ruling class and their efforts to undermine basic ethos and values of our country is extremely worrying."
Over a dozen writers have returned the award in protest over allegations of rising intolerance across India.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley lambasted the writers who have been returning the awards due to the 'atmosphere of intolerance in the country'.
Wondering if the 'protest' is a manufactured one, he wrote that there are large number of writers with left or Nehruvian leaning who have been recognised by the Government in the past.
"After the new Government was sworn in May, 2014, those who had enjoyed the patronage under the earlier establishment, have obviously been uncomfortable with the present Government. This discomfort has been furthered by another political reality in India," Jaitley wrote in a blog.