‘It’s up to Akademi to accept or reject returned awards’

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) The Sahitya Akademi might have said it will not encash the award cheques that have been returned in protest against the growing intolerance in the country but noted poet Ashok Vajpeyi said on Friday it was up to the Akademi to accept or decline the returned awards.

“Just like the writers, Akademi also has the freedom to accept or reject the awards. The issue of intolerance has also been discussed in parliament. That shows the success of our movement. When we met the president early this month, he also agreed that intolerance exists in the country,” Vajpeyi told IANS on the sidelines of the three-day Delhi Poetry Festival that opened here on Friday.

Vajpeyi said that he has returned Rs.90,000, including the interest, of the award money. He was one of the writers in the forefront of the protest against the increasing intolerance in the country.

“We are planning a satyagraha on the 30th of this month. We will also hold marches in various states,” he added.

Echoing similar sentiments, poet Keki Daruwalla said that the writers are not going to reclaim their awards and Akademi can decide whether to keep them or not.

“As writers, we have done what we could by returning awards. I think the hate speeches have come down now. However the murderers of the rationalists and writers are still on the prowl, ” said Daruwala.

K. Sreenivasa Rao, secretary of the Sahitya Akademi said on Thursday that awards are not meant to be returned and the Akademi is not going encash the cheques that have been returned.

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