Noted Hindi author Uday Prakash has decided to return Sahitya Akademi award as a mark of protest against the murder of Kannada scholar and researcher professor MM Kalburgi.
"Murder of Kannada researcher prof Kalburgi has shaken me to the core. I will return the cash prize and citation to the Akademi once I reach Delhi on September 8," Prakash told PTI from his native village Sitapur in Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh.
Prakash was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award in 2010 for his stories' collection 'Mohan Das'.
"Authors, artists and rationalists of our country are regularly being attacked. On one side we boast of freedom of expression by giving shelter to writers like Taslima Nasreen but on the other same things are happening here now," Prakash said.
The author denied taking the decision under political influence.
"I have not taken this decision under the influence of any political party but as a mark of protest against the attacks on authors and artists," Prakash said.
Since the authors do not have any security they have become easy targets, he added.
Former vice-chancellor of Hampi University, MM Kalburgi, who won the Sahitya Akademi award for his collection of research articles in 2006, was shot at his residence in Karnataka by unidentified assailants on August 30.
77-year old Kalburgi was rushed to the civil hospital where he died without responding to treatment.
Kalburgi, who had won the central and state Sahitya Akademi awards, had often stirred a hornet's nest with his remarks on various issues, including opposing idol worship and suggesting the need for a better state anthem.
Part of his works on 'Vachana'(verses) literature had also come under criticism from the state majority 'veerashaiva' (Lingayat) community.
Kalburgi had raised the hackles of some right-wing outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal when he had made certain remarks about idol worship by Hindus that were considered "derogatory" and "blasphemous" by them.