Malegaon, Nov 16: ‘Award Wapsi’ movement is gaining steam as celebrated personalities from various walks of life have joined the unique form of protest to mark their dissent against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government who are allegedly hand in gloves with fringe elements in the society. The latest to join the bandwagon of dissidents include 3 veteran journalists of Malegaon, the Muslim dominated semi-urban city in North Maharashtra.

The three scribes – Abdul Haleem Siddiqui, Hasan Farooqui and Haroon BA returned their Maharashtra Urdu Sahitya Academy Awards conferred upon them in 2008. The rationale behind their move, the journalists explained, is to protest against the rampant saffronization in the nation, assault on the country’s diversity, murder of Akhlaq in Dadri and assassination of rationalist MM Kalburgi. (ALSO READ: Filmmaker Shyam Benegal slams ‘Award Wapsi’ movement, calls it an insult to nation)

Along with their awards, they also returned the certificates and the cash price allotted to them by the academy. “We are not saying that by returning the awards, this country will change. But we feel satisfied after returning this award. As a laureate, we have been appreciating secular fabric of the country through our work but it is very unfortunate that an ideology is imposed on the society which will destroy our diversity,” said Hasan Farooqui, a teacher by profession.

85-year-old Haroon BA (Editor of Bebaak Weekly) condemned the actions adopted by BJP government at Centre and in the state in unequivocal manner. From Amit Shah’s infamous jibe on Muslims describing defeat of BJP as celebration in Pakistan to the muted response adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Dadri lynching episode as some of the reasons for returning award. He also cited the recently revoked sedition circular released by Devendra Fadnavis government permitting penal action against those who criticise the government of day or its officials.

“The sense of intolerance is rising day by day. And those who are objecting are labelled as agents of Congress or other political, ideological force. But I completely back those who have dared to challenge this tolerance,” said scribe Abdul Haleem Siddiqui, the editor of Urdu weekly Bedari.

The far-right factions who hold ideological affiliations to the current ruling regime have lately turned aggressive to impose their diktats on religious, linguistic minorities and intellectuals expressing contradictory ideological views.