In the wake of numerous authors returning their Sahitya Akademi awards, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday said that though "writers are justified in their concern", returning the awards was equal to "dishonouring" the recognition, reported PTI.
"Personally, I regret the fact that a section of writers have returned the Akademi awards. Award is a recognition of intellectual, literary, creative or academic merits. It is not a political act," the report quotes Tharoor as saying.
The former Union minister was speaking on the sidelines of an event in Thiruvananthapuram.
According to the report, he said that "Sahitya Akademi is actually an independent institution, and the concerns we have are political ones. For writers, I think there is no need to confuse these two. One should oppose the present climate ... one should stand up for freedom ... but one should not dishonour the award."
"Writers are justified in their concern because the atmosphere of intellectual freedom is essential to promote and permit creativity in writing. Freedom of expression is something which any writer has a moral obligation to pick up for," he added.