It has been two days since K S Bhagwan received a threat letter.

Kalburgi Murder Writers poets step up pressure 10 decide to return awards protesting slow probeLeft: Veeranna Madiwalar/ Facebook, Right: MM Kalburgi
news Friday, September 11, 2015 - 10:12

Several well-known authors and writers have decided to return their literary awards to protest against the killing of Kannada writer Professor M M Kalburgi, and have demanded speedy investigation in the case.

According to the Times of India, many writers from North-Karnataka have said that they will return the Aralu Prashasti given by Kannada Sahitya Parishat if there is no significant progress in the investigation of the murder by September 30. Kalburgi was gunned down by unidentified persons in Dharwad last month.

Even so, two days since the rationalist and writer K S Bhagwan received a threat letter, he has not got any support.

Along with eight writers from Ballari, Belagavi, Dharwad, Bagalkot, Mandya , Kannada poet Professor Chandrashekhar Patil and Hindi writer Uday Prakash have decided to return their awards.

The Indian Express reported that, Patil, who describes himself as a former “classmate, colleague and comrade” of Kalburgi, has returned the Pampa Prashasti or Pampa Award — the highest literary award in Karnataka.

The Indian Express quoted Patil as saying,  “We have watched many lives being snuffed out silently, Marathi voices like Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and another death in Gulbarga of another bold Kannada writer, Linganna Satyampet. The investigations in each of these cases don’t seem to be going anywhere,” he said.

 Kalburgi’s work came under fire “not just from fellow Lingayats but also from the RSS, Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sene.” “We anticipated trouble, but he paid the ultimate price, with his life, for his bold and fearless voice,” Patil told the newspaper.

Patil said he had conveyed his decision to the state government, and asked the Chief Minister to call “a special session” to pass the anti-superstition bill”. He said a movement would soon be launched to press this demand and to fight “fundamentalist forces and media terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Prakash, who received the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2010-11, has also decided to return his award. In a letter to the Sahitya Akademi on Wednesday, Prakash cited “anguish, despair and angst” at the growing insecurity among writers.

Prakash, who received the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2010-11 told the  Indian Express, “Someone like Kalburgi, who the Akademi has termed as ‘outstanding’ gets shot in cold blood. Yet, the Akademi does not… condole, issue a statement or even a message of regret to the family. In case of railway accidents for instance, even callous governments express sorrow and make a perfunctory visit.”

Prakash has reportedly decided to return the cheque of Rs 1 lakh, momento and shawl. However, as the Sahitya Akademi secretary, K Srinivas Rao, is reported to be out of town, Prakash has been asked to keep these till the Akademi holds a meeting on the issue.

Veeranna Madiwalar, a scholar from Belagavi told the TOI “We are really proud we got the award when Kalburgi was present. We are upset at the slow pace of the CID investigation. We fear probe will simmer down just like it had when social activists, Dabholkar and Pansare were killed.”

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