It’s a manufactured protest, says Jaitley on Akademi awards row

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 15, 2015 10:15 IST
File photo of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley. The minister has slammed the writers who have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards citing “rising intolerance” in the country. Jaitley called it “ a manufactured protest”. (Vipin Kumar / HT photo)

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley has slammed the writers who have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards citing “rising intolerance” in the country. Writing in a Facebook post on Wednesday, the minister called it “a manufactured protest” and “politics by other means” by the recipients of “past patronage”.

Terming the lynching of a member of the minority community in Dadri as “extremely unfortunate”, Jaitley said such incidents brought a bad name to the country.

In the facebook post titled “A manufactured revolt – Politics by other means,” he said, “The death by lynching of a member of minority community at Dadri was extremely unfortunate and condemnable. No right thinking person can ever rationalise and condone such an action. Such incidents bring a bad name to the country.”

“Subsequent to this incident, a series of writers have returned awards conferred on them by the Sahitya Academy. The thrust of the writers’ protest appears to be that under the present central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an atmosphere of intolerance has been created in the country. Is this protest real or a manufactured one? Is this not a case of ideological intolerance?” asked Jaitley.

Jaitley said there is no atmosphere of intolerance in the country. “The manufactured revolt is a case of an ideological intolerance towards the BJP.”

Read | More writers return Akademi awards, Rushdie says ‘alarming times’

He pointed out that a large number of writers who had enjoyed patronage under the earlier establishment are “obviously uncomfortable” with the present government. “The new strategy of anti–Modi, anti–BJP sections appears to be to... manufacture a crisis and subsequently manufacture a paper rebellion against the government…”

Jaitley said the protesting writers have struggled hard to find a reason as rationalist MM Kalburgi was shot dead in Congress-ruled Karnataka. Similarly, the Dadri incident took place in SP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.

Stating that there is no atmosphere of intolerance in the country, the minister asked how many of these writers protested during the Emergency or against the 1984 Sikh killings.

Read | Direct anger at govt, don’t drag Akademi into politics: Tiwari

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