Thrissur: Protesting against ‘the rising tide of intolerance' in the country, noted Malayalam writers have also announced their decision to quit their positions in the Sahitya Akademi and return their awards.
Popular writer and Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award winner Sarah Joseph on Saturday said she would return the award to protest the lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he ate beef.
Eminent Malayalam poet and critic K Satchidanandan has resigned from all his positions at the country's premium literary body.
Writer P.K Parakkadavu quitted the membership of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi.
"The country is now passing through very tough times. I feel it's worse than the black days of the Emergency," said Sara Joseph while announcing her decision to return the award she won in 2003.
"I will return the award alongwith the cash award that I received then," she told reporters here.
Referring to the lynching, Joseph said: "Our prime minister is a frequent flyer and gives big speeches on his trips abroad. The sad thing is that while he was away a man was beaten to death because he ate beef."
In a letter to the Akademi President Dr Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, Satchidanandan said: "holding a ritual condolence meeting in a regional office, as the Akademi seems to have done, is hardly an adequate response to these recent attacks on the freedom of expression, followed by a series of murders of independent thinkers in different parts of the country."
"I am sorry to find that you think this is a “political issue”; to writers like me, this is an issue of our basic freedom to live, think and write. Annihilation should never be allowed to replace argument, the very essence of democracy,” he said.