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 âclassmate, colleague and comradeâ of Kalburgi, has returned the Pampa Prashasti or Pampa Award â the highest literary award in Karnataka.
The Indian Express quoted Patil as saying, âWe 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 donât seem to be going anywhere,â he said.
Kalburgiâs work came under fire ânot just from fellow Lingayats but also from the RSS, Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sene.â âWe anticipated trouble, but he paid the ultimate price, with his life, for his bold and fearless voice,â Patil told the newspaper.
Patil said he had conveyed his decision to the state government, and asked the Chief Minister to call âa special sessionâ to pass the anti-superstition billâ. He said a movement would soon be launched to press this demand and to fight âfundamentalist forces and media terrorism.â
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 âanguish, despair and angstâ at the growing insecurity among writers.
Prakash, who received the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2010-11 told the Indian Express, âSomeone like Kalburgi, who the Akademi has termed as âoutstandingâ gets shot in cold blood. Yet, the Akademi does notâŚ 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.â
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 âWe 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.â