Award
Ramanunni said that donating the prize money was his penance and called it a ‘“symbolic, moral gesture".

Spreading the message of communal harmony, Malayalam writer and Sahitya Akademi award winner KP Ramanunni donated his prize money to the family of Junaid, the teen who was killed on a train in Haryana by an angry mob.

Ramanunni announced his decision in a statement after receiving the award in New Delhi on Monday. He met Saira Begum, Junaid’s mother, right after the awards ceremony and handed over the amount to her.

Ramanunni, a noted writer in the state, won the award for his novel Daivathinte Pusthakam. The novel talks about the writer’s concerns in a world dominated by communal hatred, and stresses for humanity beyond all boundaries. It even has an imaginary conversation between Prophet Muhammed and Lord Krishna.

Ramanunni, a progressive writer, said that donating the prize money was his penance and called it a ‘“symbolic, moral gesture”.

“I am a Hindu and it’s my responsibility,” his statement read.

“Since my novel, which put forward the message of religious harmony got recognition, it is my responsibility to be just. To fulfil this responsibility, I am taking just Rs 3 from the prize money and giving the rest to Junaid’s family,” the statement said.

Remembering Junaid, the statement said, “He was branded as anti-national and murdered brutally solely because he is a Muslim and his appearance was different”.

Fifteen-year-old Junaid Khan was lynched and killed on a Mathura-bound train from New Delhi in June 2017. The mob had reportedly called Junaid a “beef eater” and accused him of being a Pakistani. Junaid was killed when he was returning from Delhi to Faridabad after shopping for Eid.

In July 2017, Ramanunni received an anonymous letter from religious fundamentalists who threatened to kill him if he did not convert to Islam within six months.