NEW DELHI -- Six more authors including Kashmiri writer Ghulam Nabi Khayal and Kannada writer-translator Srinath D N have decided to return their Sahitya Akademi awards under the spiralling protest by litterateurs against "communal" atmosphere and "rising intolerance" following rationalist M M Kalburgi's killing.
Srinath today said he will return his prestigious Sahitya Akademi awards while Waryam Sandhu and G N Ranganatha Rao intimated the Akademi of their decision. Khayal also joined the bandwagon of authors, saying the minorities in the country today feel "unsafe and threatened".
"In the place of the pen, there are now bullets being fired. Author Kalburgi was murdered and both the Centre and the state should quickly act against the offenders so that such an incident is not repeated in the future," Srinath told PTI.
Srinath had won the 2009 Sahitya Akademi for translating short stories in Hindi written by Bheesham Sahani into Kannada.
When contacted Akademi officials said they were yet to receie intimations of the writers returning the awards.
"Apart from writers Uday Prakash, GN Devy, Aman Sethi, Waryam Sandhu and translator G N Ranganatha Rao, we have not got any intimations about the writers returning their awards," an official said.
Five authors, including Uday Prakash announced they were returning their awards, joining ranks with authors, Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpayei who had earlier given up the honour to protest against the Kalburgi killing and Dadri lynching incident where a man was killed by a mob over rumour of beef eating.
At least 16 authors have announced their decision to return their Sahitya Akademi awards.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, Urdu novelist Rahman Abbas today returned the Maharashtra State Urdu Sahitya Academy Award as a mark of protest against the Dadri lynching incident.
"I was to return the award on Saturday. However, officials of the Academy informed me that the office was closed that day. Therefore, I returned the award today," Abbas told PTI, after returning the award at the Academy office in south Mumbai.
"After the Dadri lynching, the Urdu writing community has been quite unhappy. Therefore, I decided to return the award. There are some other Urdu writers who also want to join the protest. It is high time we stood up to the injustice surrounding us," he said.
Abbas had in 2011 won the award for his third novel 'Khuda Ke Saaye Mein Aankh Micholi' (Hide and Seek in the Shadow of God).
Earlier, noted writers Nayantara Sahgal and poet Ashok Vajpeyi had returned their literary honours to protest what they termed as an "assault on right to freedom of both life and expression".
A 50-year-old man was on September 28 lynched by a mob in Dadri's Bishada village near Delhi over rumours of eating beef, triggering a nationwide outrage.