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After writers, artists return National Awards over ‘Threat to Freedom of Expression’

In the past few months , several award- winning Indian writers have returned there prestigious Sahitya Akademi awards in the protest of ‘rising intolerance’. And now the filmmakers have also decided to return their awards to protest against what they call as rising intolerance and ‘Threat to Freedom of Expression’.

The filmmakers have announced that they would return their national awards to support the agitation by the students of Pune’s (FTII) and also the “threat to diversity and freedom of speech.” About 10 filmmakers, including Dibakar Bannerjee and Anand Patwardhan are a part of this protest.

This decision came into existence shortly when the students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has declared that they would return to classes after a 139-days of agitation, but they said that they would continue their agitation peacefully to protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman.

The filmmakers said addressing a press conference in Mumbai that “Government must reveal its commitment to protect
freedom of expression”.

Mr Patwardhan said: “We are disenchanted with what is happening in the country.” He also said that the artistes cited ‘threat to diversity and freedom of expression’ as the reason for them giving up their awards.

One of the filmmakers said. “Murders of rationalists are not random acts of violence. People are being murdered for their beliefs and opinions. If we don’t protest now, we’re in danger of being part of flattening diversity”.