Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma on Tuesday said that he has been misquoted by a leading English daily over his opinion on the ongoing crisis in the Sahitya Akademi and clarified that he was only against the ‘platform’ which the writers had chosen to show their protest.
“These writers are the pride and glory of our country. They have made the nation proud with their achievements but I want to appeal to them that the platform that they have chosen to voice their protest is wrong. Law and order is a matter of the state and should not be meddled with,” Sharma told ANI.
The culture minister was slammed for saying earlier that ‘if they (writers) say they are unable to write, let them first stop writing. We will then see’. On Monday, Sharma had said, “If they say they are unable to write, let them first stop writing. We will then see.
“This is an award given by writers to writers. It has nothing to do with the government. It is their personal choice to return it… we accept it.”
However, a day later he backtracked, asserting that the Centre fully supported the writers’ cause for protest and condemned the killing of noted author M M Kalburgi, but said that returning the awards bestowed upon them was not the correct approach.
“The very organisation that is honouring them with the awards is a non-political one. There is absolutely no politics involved. What they should do is write to me or to the prime minister voicing their concerns and we will always back them. I can become their voice and endeavour to ensure their demands are fulfilled,” Sharma added.
He also said that the writers should channel their anger towards a platform where their cause will actually be heard and suggested them to write to the state government or chief minister.
“They should continue to do what they are doing but they can try another way of doing so. It is their own organisation that they are raising their voice against. If they want to protest they should do it on another platform” Sharma said.
Meanwhile, the Akademi has called an emergency meeting of its executive board on October 23 to discuss the situation.