Eminent author Shashi Deshpande today said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment on the Dadri lynching incident were “far too weak.”
The eminent author, who had resigned from the general council of the Sahitya Akademi expressing “disappointment” over PM’s silence on Kannada author Kalburgi’s murder, said that Modi has used a very weak word “unfortunate” to term the lynching incident.
The Prime Minister told a Bengali daily that the murder of a Muslim man in Dadri over rumours of eating beef and the opposition to Pakistani singer Ghulam concert is “undesirable and unfortunate.”
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“Unfortunate is a very weak term and the leader of the country should be morally responsible for whatever is happening in your country. People have elected you and a few words from the leader of the country makes a lot of difference,” Deshpande told PTI.
The Prime Minister had said, “Such debate has taken place in the past. BJP always opposed pseudo-secularism. Now again this debate is taking place in the face of unfortunate social malaise.”
The 77-year-old writer said, “I don’t agree with him when he says BJP has always opposed pseudo secularism.”
Deshpande, author of several novels, short stories and essay collections and books for children, had won the Sahitya Akademi award for her novel “That Long Silence” in 1990. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009.
Deshpande said she would not be returning her award as was done by a barrage of writers including Nayantara Sahgal, Sara Joseph, Ashok Vajpeyi and Uday Prakash, stating that she “did not believe in handing back an award that was given to her by a body of writers.”
The author also welcomed the decision of the Akademi to hold a Executive Board meeting on October 23.
“Hopefully they can all sit down and define their roles in a better manner and it can be an occasion to relook at the decisions and be involved with crucial issues that affect writers freedom to speak and write,” Deshpande said.
At least 27 writers, poets, playwrights and translators have so far returned their Sahitya Akademi award with Punjabi writer Dalip Kaur Tiwana handing over her Padma Shri award against the “rising intolerance” in the country.