A controversial novel based on the life of revered Marathi saint Tukaram has spurred protests among the 'Warkari' sect followers, who have threatened to disrupt the proceedings of All India Marathi Sahitya Sammelan beginning at Mahabaleshwar near Pune from March 20.
The 'Warkaris', who allege that the novel 'Santsurya Tukaram' has defamatory account of Tukaram's formative years, have threatened to disrupt the proceedings if the author, Anand Yadav, who is the president of the prestigious literary meet, does not resign from his post.
Yadav has already withdrawn the book and apologised to 'Warkari' leaders but the devotees of Lord Vitthal are insisting on his resignation as president of the Sahitya Sammelan.
Yadav was recently manhandled by Warkaris when he went to Saint Tukaram's temple at Dehu to personally assuage the feelings of the devotees with an appeal to allow the smooth conduct of the Mahabaleshwar meet.
Satara district authorities under whose jurisdiction the venue of the Sammelan comes have stepped up security measures at Mahabaleshwar.
Meanwhile, many writers including Ram Shevalkar, have called upon the Warkaris to avoid a showdown at the literary meet and accept Yadav's apology as well as respect "freedom of expression".