Balangir, Oct 7:
The police-brokered meeting scheduled on Sunday at Santika village, where this year’s Central Sahitya Akademi awardee Khetrabasi Nayak was to apologise for and burn his prize winning book ‘Dadan’, was cancelled after widespread protests from literary circles both inside and outside the state.
Khetrabasi Naik , a native of Santika village in Balangir district, bagged the Central Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar this year for his short story collection ‘Dadan’. The book, which was published in 2011, narrates the sorrows and pain of migrant labourers of the district.
As the matter was reported in the media, writers and members of the Odisha advisory committee of Central Sahitya Akademi flayed the decision taken by the local police.
In a face saving effort, Balangir SP R Prakash assured Khetrabasi that no such meeting will take place. If the situation so required, police would intervene to avoid any unpleasant incident, the SP assured.
Following this, the village meeting was cancelled and Balangir SDPO Narayan Naik and Loisingha IIC Narendra Swain camped at Santika village on Sunday.
Later speaking to media persons, Khetrabasi said all the characters in his stories were fictitious and were based on migration problems of his district.
After the award was declared, Kalakanhu Sahu and Mukhi Seth of the same village filed FIRs at Loisingha police station alleging that the second story of the book ‘Dadan’ was not based on facts. They said the character Ganesh in the story was not a migrant labourer. They complained that the story had damaged their family’s reputation.
Basing on the FIRs, Loisingha IIC had called the writer and complainants and scheduled a village meeting on October 6 where the writer was to apologise and burn the remaining copies of his book.