Bhubaneswar, Nov 22:  Internationally acclaimed poet and litterateur, Jayanta Mahapatra today expressed his desire to return the Padma Shri award as a mark of dissent against the “growing moral asymmetry” seen in the country. “I have already sent a letter to the President Pranab Mukherjee humbly expressing my desire to return the civilian honour of ‘Padma Shri’ as a mark of protest,” Mahapatra told PTI over phone. (read: Ripples in AAP ahead of NE,Shanti Bhushan hits out over ‘suspensions’)

The octogenarian poet, who was presented Padma Shri in 2009, said in his letter to the President he has stressed that he would “feel ethically impugned if I did not raise my voice in dissent against the growing moral asymmetry that’s visible in our country.”Stating that his was a small and insignificant voice, Mahapatra said he was around 88 years of age and a thoughtful debate within himself gave him a justification that what he was doing was right by his own moral standards.

Emphasising that the step taken by him does not point at any form of dishonour for the country, Mahapatra said, “In accordance with my beliefs, I would, as a mark of protest, humbly wish to return the civilian honour of ‘Padma Shri’ which had been bestowed upon me by the President of India in 2009.”