Sahitya Akademi Winner Donates Prize Money to Slain Junaid’s Kin

After the Sahitya Akademi Awards 2017 were presented to writers from 23 languages on Monday evening, Malayalam writer KP Ramanunni gave away his award prize money to slain Junaid’s mother, as a mark of protest against the murder of the teen.

15-year-old Junaid Khan from Haryana’s Ballabgarh was lynched last June on a Mathura-bound train after a heated argument. The attackers accused him of carrying beef in their bags and of being a Pakistani. Religious slurs were also hurled at him.

Ramanunni called it a “symbolic, moral gesture” and handed over the amount to Junaid’s mother, Saira Begum, right after the prize distribution ceremony, the Scroll report added.

Sahitya Akademi Award winner Malayalam novelist and short story writer KP Ramanunni contributes his award prize money to Mother of teenager Junaid Khan, who was stabbed to death in a Mathura-bound train.

According to an IANS report, Ramanunni said that his novel for which he won the award Daivathinte Pusthakam, deals with India’s communal situation and said that Junaid was killed for no reason.

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"Let me place this award amount as an offering at the feet of Junaid’s mother, thus doing penance for that wicked sin, for penance is a special observance in the true Hindu tradition." - Writer Ramanunni as reported by Scroll

The Scroll reported Ramanunni as saying, “Junaid was killed by Hindu communalists just for being a Muslim.”

Ramanunni had earlier written a six-part editorial in Madhyamam daily on the necessity of Hindu-Muslim harmony, Indian Express reported. Following the publication of the articles, the author received an anonymous letter threatening him to either convert to Islam within six months or be ready to bear the brunt of infidelity, the Express report added.

The family of Tamil poet Inquilab, awarded posthumously, who had earlier announced their refusal to accept the award also didn’t attend the award ceremony, the IANS report mentioned.

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In 2015, nine writers had returned their Sahitya Akademi awards as a mark of protest protest against the organisation’s silence on the killing of a man in Dadri over rumours of cow slaughter and the murder of author M M Kalburgi, allegedly for his rationalist views, Indian Express reported.

(With inputs from Indian Express, Scroll, IANS )

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