Writers' body demands action against Sahitya Akademi chief

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New Delhi, Dec 24 (UNI) Accusing Sahitya Akademi President Gopi Chand Narang of packing the organisation with his ''followers and friends'' in order to ensure his re-election, a prominent body of writers today appealed to Culture Minister Ambika Soni to order an inquiry into the Akademi's alleged irregularities and financial bungling.

In a memorandum to Ms Soni, Janwadi Lekhak Sangh (JLS) -- an All-India Association of Hindu and Urdu Writers -- alleged that Prof Narang was manipulating his re-election by violating all norms and moral values.

''Prof Gopi Chand Narang is now so emboldened that he has manipulated his sure re-election by inducting his followers and friends into the General Council even though most of them are unknown in their respective languages and literature,'' JLS General Secretaries Chanchal Chauhan and Murlimanohar Prasad Singh said.

They also pointed out that Giriraj Kishore, a famous Hindi writer, had voiced his protest against Prof. Narang's manipulations at the Goa meet of the General Council.

Reminding the minister of her earlier assurance that a thorough inquiry would be conducted and proper action taken against the guilty, they said nothing had been done so far for the redressal of their grievances.

Mr Chauhan and Mr Singh, in their memorandum, pointed out that they had earlier written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Information and Broadcasting Minister S Jaipal Reddy, drawing their attention to the irregularities being committed by Prof. Narang in his capacity as Akademi President.

''We, through our letter dated Nov 28, have apprised the Prime Minister of the irregularities and manipulations that have been exercised by prof. Narang and gotv reported in the Press. These practices adopted by Gopi Chand Narang prove Giriraj Kishore's contention to be true,'' said the memorandum.

In support of their contention, they cited the case of nomination of Marathi writer Gyaneshwar Mule by exreting pressure on the Marathi Sahitya Parishad. Mule's name was later withdrawn in following the bitter criticism of the move.

In case of other Indian languages also, the names of eminent and senior writers were deleted and they were replaced by ''ordinary'' and ''non-entities'' on the General Council, they alleged.

''This has now become all the more necessary now to save Sahitya Akademi from becoming the empire of an an individual who can utilise Akademi funds for serving his own interest. We should not allow the dubious elements under the cover of autonomy or the ambiguity of rules and regulations to do away with the healthy traditions and moral values,'' said the memorandum.

The two General Secretaries also demanded that each and every language should be given a chance to represent the Akademi as President through rotation.

''Just as an ordinary member of the General Council cannot be the member after one term, the same rule should be followed in the case of the Akademi's President and Vice-President also,'' they said, asserting that this was the only way to end the phenomenon of ''one-man one-language domination'' of the organisation.

The signatories to the memorandum included Mahasweta Devi, Ajeet Cour, Krisgna Sobti, Manglesh Dabral, Chitra Mudgal, N D Manohar, Aslam Pervez, Zubair Razvi, Rauf Kadari, Satish Kalsekar, Vishnu Khare, Ashok Vajpeyi, Giriraj Kishore and H S Shivaprakash.


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