Amrutlal Makwana, a prominent Dalit writer and recipient of Dasi Jivan Best Dalit Literary Work award, has decided to return the award to protest against the atrocity on Dalits in Una where four Dalit youths were brutally flogged in public by a cow vigilante group for allegedly skinning a dead bovine. Mr. Makwana said he would hand over the award, a citation, a shawl and Rs. 25,000 in cash he had received in 2014 as recognition, to the Ahmedabad Collector on Wednesday.‘Anguished and pained’
“I am anguished and pained by the incident of Dalits being flogged mercilessly. It only shows that Dalits continue to be at the receiving end in the society,” Mr. Makwana told The Hindu , explaining his decision.
“The atrocity on Dalits is rising and it is happening in new forms. A few years back, three Dalit youths were killed in police firing in Thangadh town of our district [Surendranagar]. Their families are still struggling to get justice, which makes me feel that there is no guarantee that justice will be done to the victims of the Una incident.”
Mr. Makwana has written three books — a short story collection, an anthology of Dalit folk songs and one on the struggle of the Dalit community in the State.
He completed an M.A in Gujarati literature and subsequently finished B. Ed from Gujarat Vidhyapith, a university set up by Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad.
He currently works as a coordinator at an educational institute in Surendranagar.‘Personal decision’
Asked whether he was inspired by the writers and artists who returned their awards protesting against rising “intolerance” after the brutal lynching of a Muslim man for allegedly storing beef in his house near Dadri in Uttar Pradesh last year, Mr. Makwana said: “My decision is very personal. After the Una incident, I felt I cannot keep the award given by the State government, which fails to protect Dalits and other marginalised sections of society.”