Gujarat's Urdu Sahitya Academy asks poet to return grant
Ahmedabad: City-based poet Aqeel Shatir has been asked by the state-run Urdu Sahitya Academy to return money given to him for publishing a book alleging that a guest piece in the book showed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in poor light.
Shatir, however, claimed that the guest piece with regard to Modi was just a cover-up and he was being penalized for seeking information about grants received by the Academy from the government and its utilisation under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
"I received a notice from the Academy a few months after filing RTI application seeking information on financial grants received and its utilisation over the last five years," Shatir who runs an STD PCO in Gomtipur area of city said.
"I am being targeted for seeking information on issues that would expose corruption within the Academy. Allegation of violation of academy rules and printing guest article showing Modi in poor light is just a cover-up," he said.
"My book 'Abhi Zinda Hoon Main' (I am Still Alive) which is being made the bone of contention was published in 2008 with Rs 10,000 grant from the Urdu Sahitya Academy for printing it," he said.
And the paragraph critical of Modi for 2002 communal riots was written by another poet Raunaq Afroz of Bhiwandi. The piece by Afroz was part of preface written by eight guest writers for Shatir's book.