New Delhi: AAP on Monday termed as "dreadful" the Prime Minister's "complete silence" on the return of Sahitya Akademi Awards by many leading writers even as it condemned the blackening of the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni by Shiv Sena activists, saying it tarnished India's image.
Senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas hoped that the world of arts and culture would tide over this "hour of challenge" and bounce back stronger as "history" shows.
"Writer after writer is returning their awards but Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to maintain complete silence. Although he has time to comment on blasts in Ankara, Navjot Singh Sidhu's illness or the untimely death of a certain foreign cricketer.
"The ink on Kulkarni's face is actually on Maharastra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's face. It goes on to show he has abdicated his ability to control the administration. You may be idelogically opposed to someone but acts such as this tarnishes the country's image," he said.
Sena activists today blackened the face of ORF chief Kulkarni over his refusal to cancel the book launch function of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, drawing strong condemnation from political parties.
Vishwas dismissed Modi's recent statement on Hindu-Muslim unity and religious harmony, saying it did not amount to the latter breaking his silence over the Dadri mob lynching of Mohammed Iqlakh over rumours of beef consumption.
"Even Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi can read out such written statements. But how can two communities fight poverty? Will Sangeet Som help them fight poverty? Has not the PM given Som freedom to incite people?" the AAP leader asked.
He said had the Prime Minister visited Iqlakh's family, "only few kilometres away from his residence", it would have brought succour to them and a message would have gone out against "extremist" elements.
In a rare show of solidarity, many writers from across the country have joined Nayantara Sahgal, who was among the first to return the award over the Akademi's silence over repeated attacks on dissenting writers and rationalists.
Booker Prize winning author Salman Rushdie today joined the growing chorus of protests by leading writers against spread of "communal poison" and "rising intolerance" in the country.