Describing the return of Sahitya Akademi awards by several writers as “unfortunate”, West Bengal Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi said today that there seemed to be a “political conspiracy” behind the move and that there was a need to “look into the political affiliations” of these writers.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a Coast Guard ship at Kolkata, Kesari Nath Tripathi said, “It is unfortunate. “We have to find out why they are returning the awards now and why they didn’t return them before… for instance, during the Muzaffarnagar riots. There is a need to look into their political affiliations. There seems to be a political conspiracy.”
More than 40 writers — novelists, playwrights and essayists — have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards as a mark of protest against what they describe as a “climate of intolerance” in the country, following the killing of Kannada writer M M Kalburgi and the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri over rumours of cow slaughter.
The comments made by Tripathi, a veteran BJP leader who was sworn in as governor on July 18, 2014, comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the opposition of practising “pseudo-secularism and politics of polarisation”. On Wednesday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had described the return of Sahitya Akademi awards by the writers as a “manufactured paper rebellion” against the government.