New Delhi: Bollywood actor Anupam Kher has added a fresh twist to the ongoing controversy over writers returning their Sahitya Akademi awards and Padma Shri, by asking why nobody returned his or her award after the attack on Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen by MIM supporters in Hyderabad.
Supporter of MIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi had roughed up Taslima Nasreen at a meeting in Hyderabad in 2007. They had then threatened her with murder. The MIM supporters were then incensed over Taslima's criticisms of Islam and Prophet Mohammed.
Taslima had gone to Hyderabad for the release of the Telugu translation of her novel 'Shodh'. The attack took place in the presence of feminist writers and rationalists.
Today, Anupam Kher retweeted one of his fans' tweet: "Did anyone return their awards after this horrible and abusive attack on Taslima Nasreen?'
It may be mentioned that Taslima Nasreen herself had condemned the murder of Kalburgi by tweeting on August 31: "Indian rationalist was killed. Karnataka CM said "no effort will be spared to find the killers. BD rationalists were killed. PM said nothing."
A number of writers from Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Delhi and Assam have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards in protest over the Akademi's silence over the brutal murders of rationalists M M Kalburgi and Govind Pansare by fundamentalists. Even Punjabi writer Dalip Kaur Tiwana returned her Padma Shri award.
Hindi writer Uday Prakash was the first to return his Sahitya Akademi award. English author Nayantara Sahgal (Pandit Nehru's niece) and Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi followed Prakash and returned their awards. So far, at least 16 writers have returned the prestigious Akademi award, while four writers have resigned elite posts in the Akademi.
The writers include Malayalam author Sarah Joseph, Kashmiri writer Ghulam Nabi Khayal, Urdu novelist Rahman Abbas, Punjabi writers Waryam Sandhu, Baldev Singh Sadaknama, Gurbachan Singh Bhullar, Ajmer Singh Aulakh and Atamjit Singh, Kannada translators G N Ranganatha Rao and Srinath DN, Hindi writers Mangalesh Dabral and Rajesh Joshi, Gujarati writer Ganesh Dave, Kannada writers Rahmat Tarikere and K. Veerabhadrappa, Punjabi poets Jaswinder, Darshan Battar and Surjit Patar and Assamese journalist Hemen Borgohain.