The Sahitya Akademi passed a resolution during its emergency meeting on Friday condemning the killing of writer and rationalist MM Kalburgi in Karnataka earlier this year, and asked the Central government to take action immediately, NDTV reported. The Akademi also spoke up against the communal tension spreading through the country and the violence against Dalits, expressing solidarity with the writers and poets who have been protesting against these issues for several weeks.
Around 40 writers had held a solidarity march at the Sahitya Akademi office at Mandi House in Delhi earlier in the day, silently protesting against the Akademi's reluctance to take a proactive stand on the murder, and the growing intolerance in the country. Keki N Daruwala, Geeta Hariharan, Anuradha Kapoor, Shekhar Joshi and Javed Ali were part of the protest.
Ahead of the Akademi's meeting, the writers had submitted a memorandum to the literary body demanding that it pass a resolution pledging to take stern steps to safeguard their freedom of speech and right to dissent, reported the Press Trust of India.
At least 35 writers across the country have either returned their Sahitya Akademi awards or quit the organisation so far. Akademi chairman Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari had said on Thursday that the writers should not have returned their awards and called their stands illogical. A statement from the writers said, "Tiwari has lost the trust of the writers. If Tiwari does not apologise and conduct a condolence meet for Kalburgi in Delhi, we will demand his resignation."