New Delhi: Forty artists and writers have returned their awards to protest against "recent mishappenings against the writers" and the Sahitya Akademi has requested them to reconsider their decision, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
In response to a question on many renowned literary writers returning awards, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said in his written response that "the return of the awards is stated to be in protest against the recent mishappenings against the writers, etc."
He said Sahitya Akademi had convened a special Executive Board meeting in which a resolution was passed "condemning the attack on and murder of any writer or artist and requesting the writers, who had returned the awards, to reconsider their decision."
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According to the reply, 39 writers have returned their awards to the Sahitya Akademi while one artist has returned his award to the Lalit Kala Akademi.
Several writers, poets and artists had recently returned their awards protesting against the Akademi's silence on the murder of fellow writer and Sahitya Akademi board member M M Kalburgi as well as against the "communal" atmosphere in the backdrop of the Dadri lynching incident.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had recently hit out at those returning awards as "rabid anti-BJP elements" and had said some of them had gone to Varanasi to campaign against Narendra Modi in the last Lok Sabha elections.
"Those returning awards are playing politics by other means. They are rabid anti-BJP elements," Jaitley, who also holds charge of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, had told reporters to a question on the returning of awards by writers, poets and film-makers.