Thrissur: Popular writer and Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award winner Sarah Joseph on Saturday said she would return the award to protest the lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he ate beef.
Malayalam novelist Sarah Joseph is the latest to return Sahitya Akademi Award over rising communal violences in India.
“The country is now passing through very tough times. I feel it’s worse than the black days of the Emergency,” said Joseph while announcing her decision to return the award she won in 2003.
“Shocking tales are coming out every day. A writer can’t keep quiet. And higher authorities’ continued silence is really frightening. It is sad people are even denied their basic right to select their food. Intolerance is visible everywhere.
Referring to the lynching, Joseph said: “Our prime minister is a frequent flyer and gives big speeches on his trips abroad. The sad thing is that while he was away a man was beaten to death because he ate beef.”
“So as a matter of protest, I will return the award along with the cash award that I received then,” she told reporters here.”She reportedly said that it is the duty of a writer to protest such social issues.
Earlier,Hindi writer Uday Prakash, Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi and writer Nayantara Sahgal, Govind Pansare had announced their decisions to return awards, as a mark of protest.