New Delhi: On the heels of similar comments by Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh on Tuesday questioned the "motive" of writers returning their awards in protest, asking why had they not done so over violence against Kashmiri Pandits or the anti-Sikh riots.
"Why did they tolerate the targeting of Kashmiri Pandits and maintained silence when they were forced to flee Kashmir Valley and live like refugees in their own country. Why did they remain silent when more than 3,000 Sikhs were butchered in Delhi," he said.
It is painful that these "secularists" did not rise up in situations when human rights were abused by people who do not believe in the unity and integrity of India, the BJP leader said.
Some "isolated incidents" in a few states cannot be termed "intolerance" in the society, he said.
The state governments have to tackle such incidents and returning awards as a mark of protest against Union government is nothing but a political gimmick, he charged.
Several writers and litterateurs have returned their government-conferred awards claiming rising "intolerance" in society.
At least 25 authors have decided to return their Sahitya Akademi awards and five writers have stepped down from official positions of the literary body, so far.
Union Minister had yesterday said he suspected the motives of the writers in going for such "not called for" action.
"If you go back to the people who have done this and if we explore their motives and what has been their background, I think something revealing will come out," Sharma had said.