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Now Kashmiri writer to return Sahitya Akademi award

Noted Kashmiri writer and poet Ghulam Nabi Khayal has joined the bandwagon of authors returning their Sahitya Akademi awards, saying minorities in the country today feel “unsafe and threatened”.

punjab Updated: Oct 12, 2015 16:42 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times
Ghulam Nabi Khayal,Sahitya Akademi award,Kashmiri writer
Noted Kashmiri writer and poet Ghulam Nabi Khayal(Photo courtesy-Facebook page)

Noted Kashmiri writer and senior journalist Ghulam Nabi Khayal has joined the string of writers who have announced to return their Sahitya Akademi awards in protest against “growing attacks on minorities” in the country.

“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 on Monday.

“When have we heard that a person was stoned to death for rumours of eating beef. Such kind of barbarism is unheard of in todays time and age.”

Khayal announced the decision at a literary event in Srinagar on Monday. His decision puts the Kashmiri writer in the league of five eminent writers of India who decided to return the Akademi award in protest against “growing communalism” and attacks on writers and artists.

“Although communal violence took place but the incidents were always restricted to one place, now the atmosphere in the entire country has been vitiated . The right-wing led violence is spreading from one corner of the country to another,” Khayal said.

Khayal said artists, writers and musicians were being threatened, churches were attacked, and teaching of Urdu was banned in Karnataka.

“A singer like Ghulam Ali who is an international star hasn’t been allowed to perform in India,” Khayal said, adding that he could no longer, “as a conscientious writer”, watch all this happening “as a mute spectator”.

Khayal said other writers of the state were likely to join him, but said he will return the award even if he was alone.

“Minorities have never felt so insecure in this country before. Religious polarisation is happening in the entire India and Jammu and Kashmir is no exception. Free speech and religious identities are being threatened and Prime Minister of the country had not said anything even after churches were burnt and Muslims were killed,” he said.

First Published: Oct 12, 2015 13:02 IST