Writer Arundhati Roy joined the growing number of artistes and intellectuals who have returned their awards in protest against the prevailing environment of violence and intolerance in India. In a column in The Indian Express, Roy said she will give back her National Award for Best Screenplay from 1989, and that the “political movement” started by writers and artists is unprecedented. She added that she was proud to be part of it.

Roy said the situation in the country has gone beyond political debate and Congress-Bharatiya Janata Party divisions, pointing out that she had also turned down the Sahitya Akademi award in 2005, when the Congress was in power. The writer’s move comes a week after 53 historians released a statement condemning Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not reassuring citizens about the “highly vitiated atmosphere” in the country.

On Thursday, director Kundan Shah said he would also be returning his National Award. The Jaane Bhi Do Yaro director echoed Roy's sentiments and said that it was not a Congress-BJP battle and that "both are the same", since his serial, Police Station, was banned when the Congress was in power.