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Twist to controversy surrounding dissolution of Urdu Academy

Special Correspondent

H.S. Shivaprakash quits Kannada Sahitya Academy membership

‘The Government has created a dangerous precedent'

‘I am submitting my resignation in protest'

MYSORE: Kannada writer H.S. Shivaprakash has submitted his resignation to the membership of Kannada Sahitya Academy in protest against the dissolution of the Karnataka Urdu Academy by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on November 10.

Mr. Shivaprakash, Dean, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, who was here on a personal visit, expressed regret over the development and sent his resignation letter to the chairman of the Kannada Sahitya Academy.

In his letter, he noted that by dissolving the Urdu Academy without assigning specific reasons, the Government had created a “dangerous precedent”. Regretting the decision, he said that he could not recall this kind of action by any of the governments that had ruled the States so far. There was no instance of even new governments dissolving academies appointed by the previous governments after coming to power, he noted.

By dissolving the academy constituted by it, the present Government had set a “dangerous precedent” that would affect the autonomy of the institution.

“Any government can emulate this. To protest against the action of the Government, I am submitting my resignation,” he said.

With the resignation of Mr. Shivaprakash, the controversy surrounding the dissolution of the Urdu Academy by the Government has taken a new twist. Disclosing the Government's decision on November 10, Minister for Minorities Welfare and Haj Mumtaz Ali Khan had said that the Karnataka Urdu Academy was dissolved, its chairman and members were dismissed, as its chairman Khaleel Mamoon was functioning in an “arrogant manner” without involving the Kannada and Culture Department, although the academy was a part of it.

The Minister also accused Mr. Mamoon of announcing the World Urdu Conference, framing programmes and formulating committees, visiting New Delhi and inviting the Prime Minister for the inaugural without informing the Chief Minister, the Minister or officials of the department.

The Government also appointed Haafiz Amjad Hussain Haafiz Karnataki as new chairman of the academy.

When contacted, Mr. Mamoon clarified that he had communicated to Mr. Yeddyurappa, who was holding Kannada and Culture portfolio then, the plans of the academy to conduct the conference in August. He had even appealed to him to release Rs. 3.50 crore for the conference, he said. He had also informed Govind M. Karjol of the plans of the academy to hold the conference, after the latter assumed the charge of the department. But there was no response from the two of them, he said.

He also said that he had visited New Delhi to invite the Prime Minister to inaugurate the meet. He had invited BJP leaders, including Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, to the valedictory. He had also made former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh Chairman of the Organising Committee, in view of his scholarship in Urdu language. “It seems visiting Delhi and seeking funds from various academies have irked the Government which had dissolved the academy,” he regretted.

Accusing the government of interfering with an autonomous cultural body, Mr. Mamoon approached court questioning the decision of the government and the court had ordered status quo in the case. “The Government cannot appoint members in view of the court order,” he noted.

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