New Delhi: Protesting against the recent attacks by "fringe elements" on the society, a group of writers from different parts of the country here on Tuesday said the Indian society has been "poisoned with intolerance".
Addressing a "Protest meet" at the Press Club of India here, writers like Manglesh Dabral, who returned his Sahitya Akademi Award last week, Hindi veteran writer Vishwanath Tripathi, and writer and editor Om Thanvi expressed concern over "increasing intolerance" in the society.
Pointing to the attacks by some Hindutva groups on writers and thinkers like M.M. Kalburgi, Tripathi said: "To kill a person for his views and beliefs is very dangerous sign in a secular society. This is not just a fight of Sahitya Akademi winners, but of all writers."
Attempts are being made under the present government, to "deform this country's secular fabric and convert it into uniformity", Tripathi added.
Writer and editor Om Thanvi said a situation like "emergency period has been created" in the society, and added that a writer's freedom was also that of the society.
The writers said returning of the state awards was being done currently as attacks were being made on beliefs and thoughts and any differing belief was being silenced for the first time.
Dabral also raised the issue that the country was turning into a "communal" one with this kind of intolerance.
Ali Javed of the Progressive Writers' Association (PWA) said: "Why is the prime minister not stopping all the fringe elements from their attacks? This is the first time after Independence that intolerance of this level has prevailed."
The writers also said Minister for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma's comments on writers returning their state awards that "it was their choice", that it was not just about returning their awards but a symbol of their protest against curb on freedom in the country.
They said those writers who have not returned their awards were also supporting the protest.
In view of an ink attack on Engineer Rashid, an Independent legislator from Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, security measures around the venue were tightened up.
The writers' dissent was also depicted in the way the stage was prepared, with black coloured posters depicting an ink bottle.
Writers from across the country also plan to hold a protest march on October 23, from Shri Ram Centre to Sahitya Akademi in the capital, wearing black ribbons on their heads as a sign of protest.