Ahmedabad: The elevation of retired bureaucrat Bhagyesh Jha as the president of the Gujarati Sahitya Akademi has led to two eminent writers returning their awards.
Both expressed concerns over the government's alleged attempts to usurp the literary body of its autonomy.
After writer Pravin Pandya's announcement on Saturday that he was returning his award, Vadodara-based writer and literary critic Bharat Mehta said he too was turning back the honour for literary criticism he got from the Sahitya Akademi in 2008 for his work, Vasant Vyakhyan Mala.
His award comprises a citation, a trophy and Rs.11,000 in cash for his book that is a compilation of four lectures he had delivered at the Bombay University in 2007.
Mehta teaches Gujarati literature at the prestigious MS University in Vadodara.
The Gujarati writers have been protesting for nearly six months against, what they allege is a move by the Gujarat government to tinker with the constitution of the institution that threatens its autonomy.
Mehta told a section of the media in Vadodara: "When we met Jha expressing our concerns over the danger to the Akademi's autonomy, he said the writers were behaving in a Talibani manner."