Would be absurd to accept an award now says the writer

Kalburgi murder unsolved RSS growing Renowned Kannada writer rejects Sahitya Akademi Award
news Activism Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 18:48

Seventy-seven-year-old renowned rationalist thinker and writer, MM Kalburgi, was shot dead at his home in Dharwad in August 2015.

Soon after this, news regarding the murders of anti-superstition activist, Narendra Dabolkar and CPI leader, Govind Pansare, being connected to Kalburgi’s death, had writers across the country return their awards to the Sahitya Akademi.

A year later, have things changed?

‘No’, says Karnataka’s prominent critic, G Rajasekhar.

On Wednesday, he rejected an award announced by the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi for his work Bahuvachana Bharatha, published in 2016.

The writer said that his decision to reject the award was because two years after the murder of Kalburgi, there has been no adequate investigation into the case.

“The RSS’ influence has seeped into many organisations and the growing intolerance in the country led the writers to return their awards. The situation in our country has worsened. Now we have people telling us what we can and cannot eat. In the name of Indian culture, the RSS is shaming the country further. Now, even the media outlets, known for their liberal view are buying into the RSS propaganda and this is a kind of fascism. The RSS is spreading its wings into every sector of the society. It is not only controlling the government, but is trying to control how the society works as well. Rejecting the award is my way of protesting against this intolerance,” said Rajasekhar.

“It has been two years since the writer died and there has been no progress in the investigation. Also, the Dabolkar and Pansare cases have come to a standstill. It will be absurd to accept an award under such circumstances. The Opposition party in Karnataka pounced at the opportunity to gain political footing after the deaths of police officers but it has not spoken about the death of this prominent writer, which is why I rejected the award,” Rajasekhar added.

The Central Crime Branch had arrested Bhuvith Shetty, the co-convenor of the Bajrang Dal unit in Mangaluru in August 2015 for posting a tweet justifying the murder of Kalburgi and warning that scholar K S Bhagwan, another rationalist free-thinker, would be their next target.

Shetty, who later withdrew his remarks from Twitter, was released on bail.

Cadres of the Sanathan Sanstha, a right-wing Hindutva organisation, had been detained in June 2016 for questioning in connection with the murder of Dabolkar. However, the investigation has been in a limbo since then.