Photo credit: IUCAA

Noted astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar has said that the government, and not the Sahitya Akademi, was responsible for incidents of intolerance such as the killing of litterateur MM Kalburgi. In an open letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, Narlikar said that returning national awards was not an appropriate way of protest.

Narlikar, emeritus professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, said, "Incidents like this are indicative of a deterioration of the law and order situation for which the government (and not Sahitya Akademi) is ultimately responsible. So the main burden of the public wrath should be directed at those responsible for maintaining law and order and not the Sahitya Akademi."

Acknowledging that the Sahitya Akademi reacted to Kalburgi's killing "rather late", Narlikar said it was right for its members and awardees to put pressure on the Akademi to come out with a strong condemnation "of what is seen as suppression of free thinking".