Strongly condemning the killing of writer MM Kalburgi, Sahitya Akademi on Friday passed a unanimous resolution appealing to the state and central governments to take steps to prevent such incidents and asked authors to take back the awards they had returned to protest against "rising intolerance".
At an emergency meeting held in the wake of the writers' protest, the literary body also appealed to the members, who have stepped down, to take back their resignations.
"The Akademi strongly condemns the killing of writer Kalburgi and appeals to the state and central government to take steps to prevent such incidents in the future," Krishnaswamy Nachimuthu, an executive committee board member said, after the nearly two-hour meeting.
Friday's meeting was attended by 20 out of 24 executive council members of the Akademi, according to Huirem Behari Singh, another Executive Committee Board member. In its statement, the Akademi also asked dissenting writers to take back their awards.
Speaking exclusively to NDTV, eminent author Vikram Seth welcomed the statement issued by the top and independent literary body. "It's a statement as strong as I could have expected and indeed in some senses broader. I consider it a noble statement and I am both relieved and grateful that the board of Sahitya Akademi has made the statement that it has made. It shows that it is an independent body," Seth told NDTV.
Seth, was among one of the many authors, who had said he would renounce his Akademi award if the organisation did not make a strong statement against the incidents of rising intolerance in India.
After Sahitya Akademi issued the statement, Seth said that the authors should now consider taking back their awards, however he asserted that the decision was purely theirs, NDTV report said.
"It's not easy for writers to give up their awards, it is an act of courage," Seth said.
The Akademi's Board meeting will be held on 17 December, where it will further discuss the situation arising out of the returning of awards.
At least 35 writers including Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpeyi, Uday Prakash, Keki N Daruwallah, K Veerabhadrappa had returned their Akademi awards, and five writers had stepped down from official positions of the literary body, which in turn has convened an emergency meeting today to discuss the developments.
You can read the full text of the official statement here.
With PTI inputs
Updated Date: Oct 24, 2015 09:05:04 IST