Ahmedabad, (IANS) Gujarati writer Amrutlal Makwana has returned a state award he got to protest against the beating of some Dalit youths in the state by cow vigilantes even as he said the age-old discrimination of the community will continue for generations.
“Dalits have had a history of being discriminated, treated shabbily as second-rate citizens and tortured. They have suffered from time immemorial. And this is irrespective of the ruling party of the day,” the 44-year-old Dalit writer told IANS on Thursday.
Makwana was given the Dasi Jeevan Shreshth Dalit Sahitya Kruti Award for 2012-13 for the best work of the year for his work “Kharapat Nu Dalit Lok Sahitya”. The award includes Rs 25,000 in cash and a citation.
This award now carries a cash prize of Rs 50,000. Three other categories of Dalit awards are given in Gujarat, including for journalists and NGOs working for the community.
Makwana quietly walked into the Ahmedabad District Collector’s office on Wednesday and surrendered his award.
“I handed over a brief letter to the authorities saying that I am returning this award out of grief and pain due to the treatment meted out to Dalit youths,” he said.
He addressed the letter to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.
Makwana, who lives in Wadhwan town in Surendranagar district, said such attacks on Dalits had become a regular event in Gujarat and the government had not done enough to give justice to Dalits.
“The attack in Mota Samadhiyala village of Gir-Somnath district was ghastly and barbaric. It completely shook me. Sadly, such incidents are happening around us regularly,” he said.
At the same time, Makwana rues that “Dalits will continue to suffer unless the Manuwadi caste system ingrained in us is completely dismantled”.