28/11/2015 5:48 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

'Intolerance' Row: 3 Kannada Writers Withdraw From Bengaluru Literature Festival Literature Festival 2014" data-caption="Learning about the Constitution with Justice Leila Seth : Literature Festival 2014" data-credit="Pratham Books/Flickr">

Joining the protest against the alleged spike in intolerance in the country, three prominent Kannada writers have withdrawn from Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) 2015 scheduled to be held on 5 and 6 December.

The writers were upset that Vikram Sampath, one of the organisers of the festival, had refused to support the intellectuals returning their awards and had taken the government's side instead.

Therefore, OL Nagabhushana Swamy, Prof Arif Raza and Dayananda TK decided keep themselves away from the festival.

A Times of India report states that Sampath had once described the writers returning the awards as '"neither intellectual nor academic in spirit".

According to DNA, Sampath’s article read, “It is intriguing that the writer community was largely silent when books were banned, authors attacked, and rationalists killed. Why the selective outrage, as though apocalypse has descended on us as far as freedom of expression is concerned? Intolerance and violence against a contrary opinion is not a sudden phenomenon in India."

Protesting writers have now penned a letter to the fest organisers explaining the reason behind their move.

"I feel reluctant to be a part of a festival organized by those who are not willing even to pause and examine the anguish of writers who have returned their awards," Times Of India quoted OL Nagabhushana as saying.

Dayananda in his letter to the festival organizers wrote, "A little bit of reading about the lit fest organisers made me realize that they have been critical of the writers returning their awards. The organizers have the right to criticize and I have no right to view the same through the prism of right and wrong. But it is not expected of a writer to stand by the shrewd silence of the establishment and its atrocities."

Famous Malayalam writer K Sachidanandan, said he too refused to be part of BLF this year, coming out in support of Raja and Dayanand.

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