Kashmiri writer and former head of Department of Kashmiri Language and Literature at University of Kashmir, Margoob Banihali has decided to return his Sahitya Akademi award.
According to a statement, Banihali took the decision after watching Zahid Ahmed Bhat’s news reports about the murder and his funeral procession that took place on Monday.
“Banihali will be returning both the trophy and cash of Rs 1 lakh as a mark of solidarity with the victim’s family and as a mark of protest to PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir and the BJP government at the Centre,”’ he said.
Banihali had received Sahitya Akademi Award for his Kashmiri poetry collection “PARTAVISTAAN” in 1979.
Last week, the noted Kashmiri writer and senior journalist Ghulam Nabi Khayal had announced his decision to return the award against “growing attacks on minorities”.
“What has happened in the last one year since the new government came to power didn’t happen in the last 60 years,” Khayal, who won the award in 1995 for a Kashmiri book “Gashik Minar” (pillars of light), told HT.
“When have we heard that a person was stoned to death for rumours of eating beef? Such kind of barbarism is unheard of in today’s time and age,” he added.
The decision has puts the Kashmiri writer in the league of eminent writers of India who decided to return the Akademi award in protest against “growing communalism” and attacks on writers and artists.