Chandigarh/New Delhi: Eminent Punjabi writer and Padma Shri winner Dalip Kaur Tiwana yesterday decided to return her award to protest “recurrent atrocities” on Muslims in the country. Kannada writer Prof Rahamat Tarikeri and writers Krishna Sobti and Arun Joshi have also returned their Sahitya Akademi awards.

In a letter to the Centre, Tiwana said, “In this land of Gautama Buddha and Guru Nanak Dev, the atrocities committed on the Sikhs in 1984 and on the Muslims recurrently because of communalism are an utter disgrace to our state and society. And to kill those who stand for truth and justice put us to shame in the eyes of the world and God. In protest, therefore, I return the Padma Shri award”, said the author who received the honour in 2004.

Joining the bandwagon of writers and poets protesting growing intolerance, Kannada writer Prof Rahamat Tarikeri said yesterday, he has returned his Sahitya Akademi award to protest against the killing of scholar M M Kalburgi and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. In a letter addressed to the President of the Akademi, Tarikeri said, “It is sad that the Sahitya Akademi has not condemned the brutal murder of Kalburgi, an eminent scholar and Akademi award recipient. The killing of Pansare, Dabholkar and Kalburgi, is an attempt to create an intolerant society”. The recent Dadri lynching over beef eating rumours is also part of this intolerance, said Tarikeri, Professor at Hampi Kannada University, who was conferred the award in 2010.

With writers Krishna Sobti and Arun Joshi following suit, at least 25 authors including Nayantara Sahgal and Ashok Vajpeyi have decided to return their Akademi awards and five writers have stepped down from official positions of the literary body, which in turn has convened an emergency meeting on October 23 to discuss the developments. Speaking on his decision to return the honour, Sobti said, “I have returned my award due to various issues like the ghar wapsi, the Dadri lynching, church attacks and more recently the Shiv Sena incident on Monday. All these are shocking and disturbing.”