West Bengal governor criticises writers protesting against religious intolerance

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West Bengal Governor K.N. Tripathi on Thursday criticsed those authors, who were returning Sahitya Akademi awards in protest against growing religious intolerance.

Tripathi said that writers’ decision was politically motivated.

“Several incidents occurred in the country from the time they received the award and then eventually returned it. It makes one wonder if there is small group of people who are lobbying for the return of these awards,” Tripathi said here on the sidelines of an event.

Tripathi’s comments come hours after Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, described the portest by country’s eminent writers as ‘manufactured revolt.’

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“How it is that none of them were prompted to return the award earlier and why now,” he added.

Questioning the “sudden awakening” of the authors, Tripathi hinted towards a political configuration behind the decision.

“Why did they not return the award when the (2013) Muzaffarnagar riots happened? How is that they have awakened now. There appears to be some kind of political configuration behind the return of the awards,” added the veteran BJP leader.

Noted writer Nayantara Sahgal’s decision last week to return her Sahitya Akademi award over the public lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he ate beef, and the murder of rationalists in Maharashtra and Karnataka has triggered a wave of similar reactions from other awardees across the country.

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Tripathi’s comments come a day after about 100 intellectuals and authors from the state on Wednesday wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee, seeking that the Narendra Modi government take a tough stand against fundamentalists.

Condemning the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, leftist Govind Pansare and scholar M.M. Kalburgi, the intellectuals including the likes of eminent poets Shankha Ghosh and Nabaneeta Dev Sen expressed deep concern over the rising communal polarisation and intolerance in the country.

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