After two dozens of eminent scholars and writers returned their prestigious Sahitya Akademi award in protest against the growing intolerance in the country, now a renowned Punjabi writer and Padma Shri winner Dalip Kaur Tiwana has decided to her Padma award protesting “recurrent atrocities” on Muslims in the country.
Kaur’s decision followed the decision to return Sahitya Akademi award by another Kannada writer against “growing intolerance”.
In a related development, Booker Prize winning author Salman Rushdie came out strongly against “thuggish violence” while dismissing criticism by “Modi Toadies”, saying he supported no political party.
According to news agency PTI, in a letter to the Centre, Tiwana said, “In this land of Gautama Buddha and Guru Nanak Dev, the atrocities committed on the Sikhs in 1984 and on the Muslims recurrently because of communalism are an utter disgrace to our state and society.
“And to kill those who stand for truth and justice put us to shame in the eyes of the world and God. In protest, therefore, I return the Padma Shri award”, Tiwana, who received this honour in 2004 was quoted as saying.
Tiwana later told ANI, “We have to reflect as a society as to why intolerance is rising.”
Earlier on Tuesday Kannada writer Professor Rahamat Tarikeri on Tuesday too joined the list of those renowned scholars who had returned their honours.
He said that he had returned his Sahitya Akademi award in protest against the killing of scholar MM Kalburgi and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.
With writers Krishna Sobti and Arun Joshi following suit, at least 25 authors including Nayantara Sahgal and Ashok Vajpeyi have decided to return their Akademi awards and five writers have stepped down from official positions of the literary body, which in turn has convened an emergency meeting on 23 October to discuss the developments.
Rushdie was flooded with a barrage of hate messages following his tweet in support of Nayantara Sahgal and other writers who returned their Sahitya Akademi awards protesting against its silence over killings of writer MM Kalburgi and rationalists Narendra Dabolkar and Govind Pansare.
The 68-year-old author responded in another tweet, “Here come the Modi Toadies. FYI (for your information), Toadies: I support no Indian political party and oppose all attacks on free speech. Liberty is my only party.”
Toady, is a term referred to person who praises and helps powerful people in order to get their approval.
His tweets came after Shiv Sena activists in Mumbai blackened the face of ORF chief Sudheendra Kulkarni over his refusal to cancel the book launch function on Monday of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, prompting strong condemnation from political parties.
“I think what’s crept into Indian life now is a degree of thuggish violence which is new,” Rushdie told NDTV.