Besides, two Kannada writers, G N Ranganatha Rao and D N Srinath, returned Sahitya Akademi prizes for translation, while theatre artist Maya Krishna Rao returned her Sangeet Natak Akademi award.
As more writers returned their Sahitya Akademi awards on Monday to protest against the silence of the central government and the Akademi over the threat to free speech, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma struck back, saying, “If they say they are unable to write, let them first stop writing. We will then see.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sharma said: “This is an award given by writers to writers. It has nothing to do with the government. It is their personal choice to return it… we accept it.”
Meanwhile, the Akademi called an emergency meeting of its executive board on October 23 to discuss the situation.
Kashmiri writer Ghulam Nabi Khayal, noted Gujarati poet Anil Joshi, Kannada writer Rahamath Tarikere and five writers from Punjab — Surjit Patar, Chaman Lal, Baldev Singh Sadaknama, Jaswinder and Darshan Buttar — on Monday joined the list of writers who have decided to return their Akademi awards, taking the total number to 23.
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