After an earlier decision to return the prestigious Sahitya Akademi awards to condemn the murder of rationalists and writers in the country, the Goa Konkani Lekhak Sangh (GKLS) now plans to hold a series of demonstrations during the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.
The group of 15 surviving Sahitya Akademi winners (Konkani) said that along with with Padma Shri Maria Aurora Couto they will hold protests during the pre-event as well as the ‘fest’ to highlight their concerns before national and international delegates visiting the state for the 46th edition of the film festival.
N Shivdas, who had earlier told The Indian Express that he intended to return his award, said that he now planned to join the collective protest.
“I have withheld my decision after other Akademi award winners expressed intentions to hold a collective agitation along with artists and writers. In the presence of veteran artists, we will make the IFFI a platform to send our message across to a global audience and expose the plight of the creative community in India,” he said.
Besides tapping the local community of prominent figures like musician Remo Fernandes and fashion designer Wendell Rodricks, the GKLS said that it will connect with the national and the international fraternity of artists to give momentum to its agitation during the 10-day film festival scheduled to begin on November 20.
The writers affiliated with the planned protest claimed that the lacklustre probe into the murders of CPI leader Govind Pansare, rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and Kannada writer M M Kalburgi had instilled fear in them from expressing their thoughts freely.
“The trend of attacking people with creative temperament is not limited to a specific region but across nation…he (Prime Minister Modi) should give us an assurance that such incidents will not recur and the killers will be brought to justice,” said Shivdas.