Over 40 writers and artistes from across the country participated in a silent march to the Sahitya Akademi building on Ferozeshah Marg here on Friday to protest against growing intolerance in the country.
The march was held ahead of the emergency meeting of the Sahitya Akademi members.
The participants, including authors like Keki N Daruwalla, Githa Hariharan, Shekhar Joshi and Ali Javed, and theatrepersons such as Anuradha Kapoor and Mala Hashmi, wore black gags and arm bands.
“This is a sad day that writers, readers and performance artistes have to walk with so much police presence to an institution which is supposed to be run by writers for writers. Why are we writers standing outside here, when this institution supposedly belongs to to us,” said Hariharan, a recipient of Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. “This matter is not just about M M Kalburgi, but about the whole series of events.”
“The way the intolerance is growing in our country, our silent agitation is for that. Why isn’t the Akademi doing anything? It is an autonomous body; the president is chosen by the writers. Why are they so silent? The president or the secretary of the Akademi shouldn’t be silent or scared,” said Daruwalla.
The writers drafted a memorandum and submitted it to Akademi president Vishwanath Pratap Tiwari.
The protesting writers also condoned the Akademi’s reluctance to hold Kalburgi’s condolence meeting in Delhi. “Around 12 writers had gone to meet the Akademi to talk about holding a condolence meeting on September 16, but they said they can’t hold it in Delhi. A condolence meeting, however, was held in Bangalore, but what is this atmosphere of fear here?” said Rekha Awasthi of Janwadi Lekhak Sangh.
At around the same time, another group of protesters appeared in front of Sahitya Akademi building, raising slogans like “Bharat mata ki jai”.