Sahitya Akademi finally condemns killings of writers

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) The Sahitya Akademi for the first time on Friday said it was “deeply pained” and strongly condemns the murder of writer M.M. Kalburgi and other intellectuals, weeks after allround criticism for its silence on the issue.

“The Akademi strongly supports the writers’ right to freedom of expression in all languages of India and condemns any atrocities against any writer in the country in the strongest of words,” Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, Sahitya Akademi president, said in a statement issued to media.

The Akademi, after holding a special executive board meeting for over three hours here, in a resolution also condemned the violence against fellow citizens from different walks of life.

It requested the authors, who returned their awards or have dissociated themselves from the Akademi, to reconsider their decisions.

Tiwari, in a statement said, the Akademi is an organisation guided solely by writers and all its decisions including those on the awards were made only by the writers.

“The Akademi has also asked governments at the Centre and the states to take immediate action against the culprits and to ensure the security of writers now and in the future,” the statement said.

The Akademi demanded that the Centre and states should maintain peaceful co-existence in the society and urged various communities to put aside the differences of caste, religion, and ideology.

The appeal followed a meeting of the Akademi’s executive board, , Akademi member and Tamil scholar Krishnaswamy Nachimuthu earlier told the media here.

Over 100 litterateurs have returned their Akademi awards to protest primarily against the attacks by some Hindutva groups on writers and thinkers like M.M. Kalburgi.

The writers also cited the lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he ate beef as an example of growing intolerance in the country and took out a peaceful march here on Friday.

Kalburgi was killed in August this year followed by a series of protests by writers over growing religious intolerance across the country, but the Akademi has been silent till date.

Another noted writer, Govind Pansare was attacked on February 16 in Kolhapur when he was shot at from a close range. Pansare, 81, died of bullet injuries four days later.

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