New Delhi: Ashok Vajpeyi, a literary heavyweight was awarded Sahitya Akademi Award on 1994, and today he has returned the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award, to protest “assault on right to freedom of both life and expression”. Vajpeyi’s decision came close on the heels of celebrated writer Nayantara Sahgal yesterday returning the Sahitya Akademi Award over “vicious assault” on “India’s culture of diversity and debate” and the “right to dissent”.
Vajpeyi, a former chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi, voiced displeasure over the Dadri lynching incident and a string of killings of rationalists, while questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continued silence on these. They have not protested against what has been happening to the the writers’ autonomy. The writers’ community should rise in protest,” Vajpeyi said.
Earlier, Hindi writer Uday Prakash had also returned his Sahitya Akademi Award, raising similar issues. Six Kannada writers too had returned literary awards conferred on them by the Karnataka government against the delay in probing the killing of Kalburgi, himself a Sahitya Kala Akademi award recipient.