Rahamat Tarikeri, noted writer and professor, Department of Kannada, Kannada University, Hampi, has returned his Sahitya Akademi award in 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, Mr. 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 is also part of this intolerance. As a protest to the attack on free thinking and food liberty, I am herewith returning the award.” Mr. Tarikeri was conferred the award in 2010.
He is the second writer from Ballari district, after Kum. Veerabhadrappa (known as ‘Kum Vee’ in literary circles), to return the literary honours. Kum Vee had announced on Sunday that he would be returning the award he got in 2008 to protest against the ‘silence’ of the Akademi and also over the inordinate delay in bringing the ‘killers’ of Kalburgi and other rationalists to book.
He has enclosed a cheque of Rs. 1 lakh, the award amount, a shawl and memento, along with the letter forwarded to the Regional Office of the Akademi in Bengaluru.
Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Tarikeri said the State had seen protests earlier against books and seeking their ban, but the culture of killing litterateurs has entered the State from Maharashtra, which has shocked writers and thinkers. “This is a dangerous trend and needs to be nipped in the bud,” he added.