Hindu Kashmiri writer refuses to accept State award from Omar
From Khajuria S Kant in Jammu
Convener of Panun Kashmir and a well-known scholar Dr Agnishekhar rejected the Best Book Award which was announced for his fourth poetry collection, Jawahar Tunnel, by the Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, as a mark of protest against the exodus and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley.
An appalled Dr Agnishekhar said, “We are in exile and how can I accept an award from a government, which has not shown any seriousness in healing our wounds and which is responsible for exodus of my community.” He made this revelation while addressing a press conference in Jammu. “My conscience would not allow me to receive award from Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,” he said. “I reject the best book award carrying a cash reward of Rs 51,000, a memento and a shawl,” he added.
Dr Agnishekhar said, though this award is being given by the State Academy, and the Chief Minister of the state happens to be its President, therefore, it will be unethical for me to receive this literary award from the hands of Omar Abdullah.
He said, “I hold all the successive state governments responsible for continued policy of neglect and apathy towards the victims of Jehadi terrorism in the Valley. It is my responsibility as a writer to register my protest against this worst ever forced exodus and holocaust.” Reacting to one of the questions on why he is refusing to accept the award from the hands of Chief Minister, Dr Agnishekhar said, “I refuse to accept this award because the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is seen inclined towards fundamentalists, who have rejected secularism and cultural co-existence in the Valley. So far as the issue of displaced Kashmiri Pandits is concerned Omar Abdullah, right from beginning, adopted a rigid stand towards them.