Noted novelist Vikram Seth said he will decide on whether to give up his Sahitya Akademi award after the body’s emergency meeting on Friday, though he hopes it will take a strong stand against the persecution of writers. Eminent author Anita Desai made a similar statement on Wednesday, saying she would join the 34 writers who had returned their prizes unless the Akademi clearly defended and protected those under its fold.

Seth said while he admired the writers’ protest, the Akademi should be given a chance to make a statement. Desai, however, questioned its silence on the killing of rationalist MM Kalburgi in Karnataka, and criticised the current atmosphere in India, where she said, “Under the banner of Hindutva, intimidation and bigotry seek to silence writers and scholars”.