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Arundhati rejects Akademi Award

The 1997 Booker winner says she can't accept the honour from a body linked to a Govt whose policies she opposes.

books Updated: Jan 15, 2006 11:22 IST

Prize-winning author and activist Arundhati Roy has declined this year's Sahitya Akademi Award, saying she cannot accept the honour from an institution linked to the Government whose policies she opposes.

Roy, who won the 1997 Booker Prize for her first novel The God of Small Things, has rejected the award in a single-page fax message, Akademi Secretary K Sachidanandan said.

A leading environmental activist and opponent of big dams, Roy has slammed India's economic policies that she says have caused unsustainable environmental damage.

Sachidanandan said the author declined the award because she also did not want to have it from an institution she believed was linked to the Government.

"But we are trying to persuade her to reconsider her decision. We are telling her that the Akademi is intellectually and culturally purely autonomous although it is funded by the Government," he remarked.

But the Sahitya Akademi will not replace her nomination in any case, Sachidanandan said.

"There have been many occasions when we opposed government policies ourselves. There is absolutely no question of replacing Roy with anybody else. She will remain our awardee."

Roy was named for the Akademi Award for her book, The Algebra of Infinite Justice.

First Published: Jan 15, 2006 00:26 IST