10/23/2015, 00.00
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Intellectuals march through Delhi against climate of Hindutva intolerance

About 40 intellectuals have returned prestigious literary awards following colleague’s murder for his ideas on worship of Hindu deities and a Muslim "guilty" of eating cow meat. The protesters staged a peaceful protest. The goal is to draw attention to the increasing attacks against those who criticize the radical policies of the Hindu fundamentalists.

Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning about 100 intellectuals, including some of the 40 writers who in recent weeks have returned the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award, marched through the streets of the Indian capital to protest against the growing climate of intolerance against those who dissent from the political fundamentalist Hindutva.

Many of them wore a gag on their mouth and wore black bracelets (see photo). Sharmila Tagore, a famous actress, agrees with the writers gesture and said: "It is a difficult time for India. We see a conflict between modernity and the serious threat of a regression that threatens freedom of expression. "

After the initiative of the writer Nayantara Sahgal, grandson of the first Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and his colleague Ashok Vajpeyi, a famous poet in India, it has now risen to about 40 the number of intellectuals who have returned their lifetime achievement awards.

This morning protesters also took to the streets and marched to the building of the Sahitya, institute requesting a resolution that appropriate actions are taken to safeguard the freedom of expression of intellectuals and their right to dissent be approved.

The protesting intellectuals are challenging the climate of intolerance that has resulted in the killing of secular writer MM Kalburgi, murdered in late August for his ideas on the worship of Hindu deities and sacred rituals. They also denounce the numerous incidents of violence against religious minorities in the country, such as the case of the Muslim man lynched in Dadri (Uttar Pradesh) because he was suspected of having eaten cow meat.

The protesters also condemned the attitude of the president of the literary institute, Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, who was described their decision to return the award as "illogical". Instead, they argued that the peaceful protest today aims to "express [their] anger against the government, which allows these anti-social acts of violence, " and also "draw attention to assaults on intellectuals".

In recent weeks in fact, some of these have been subjected to ink attacks because they have criticized the growing racial hatred fueled by radical Hindus that is spreading in the country against which  the government of Prime Minister Modi is failing to take a position.


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