Booker winner Salman Rushdie has supported writers who have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards in protest, claiming “alarming times for free expression in India”.
“I support #NayantaraSahgal and the many other writers protesting to the Sahitya Akademi. Alarming times for free expression in India,” Rushdie tweeted. The Indian-born writer was talking about writer Nayantara Sahgal’s decision last week to return her award to express her solidarity with “all Indians who uphold the right to dissent”.
Many in the literary fraternity have of late raised their voices against the murders of Kannada writer and Sahitya Akademi award winner MM Kalburgi and anti-superstition activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare -- both from Maharashtra, questioning the government and the Akademi’s silence.
The lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh’s Bisada village by a mob following rumours that he slaughtered a calf and ate beef has also triggered a wave of protests
Three Punjabi writers and three other eminent authors--one each from Gujarat, Delhi and Karnataka--announced on Sunday they will return their Akademi awards to protest against the government’s “onslaught on freedom of expression”. On Monday, Kashmiri writer Ghulam Nabi Khayal returned his Sahitya Akademi award to protest against the goverment’s “failure in protecting minorities”.