Hindi poet Rajesh Joshi on Monday announced he had returned his Sahitya Akademi award in protest against the attacks on the freedom of speech and expression in the country. Joshi has conferred the award in 2002. On the other side, Aravind Malagatti Kannada poet announced that he was getting threat calls after he returned his award, “I am also getting a lot of threat calls and letters-Aravind Malagatti.”
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Joshi said, “The government is keeping mum on writers’ murders. On one hand the intolerance is on the rise in the country, on the other hand attacks are being perpetrated on the freedom of speech and expression.”
Malagatti has resigned from the governing council of Sahitya Akademi, protesting its silence over the recent killing of Kannada rationalist and thinker M.M. Kalburgi.
Expressing anguish over the killing of Kalburgi and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare in Maharashtra in the recent past, Malaghatti said the Akademi should have spoken out and condemned the growing intolerance in sections of society.
Six young Kannada writers on 3 October returned their state literary awards to protest over the delay in the inquiry of Kalburgi’s killing.
A number of Sahitya Akademi recipients have returned their coveted awards recently since 77-year-old Kannada rationalist and thinker M.M. Kalburgi was shot dead on August 30 by two unidentified assailants at his residence in Dharwad, about 430 km from Bengaluru in Karnataka.
Dabholkar was killed in Pune in August 2013 while Pansare was shot at in a Kolhapur on 16 February and succumbed to bullet injuries on 21 February in a Mumbai hospital.
Maharashtra Police are yet to nab the killers though some suspects have been taken into custody for interrogation and investigation.