Seeking to put at rest the controversy over the award for novel Meesha, Kerala Sahitya Akademi president Vaisakhan on Tuesday said the novel was selected by a three-member jury.
“The government or the akademi had nothing to do with the jury’s decision. The akademi is an autonomous institution and the government had never interfered in its decisions,” he said.
Stressing that the akademi had no special interest in S. Hareesh’s novel, Mr. Vaisakhan said the akademi had no vengeance against any religion and the issue had been given communal colour unnecessarily.
The akademi had appointed a committee for primary selection of novels for the award. Ten books selected by the committee were sent to the three-member jury for its final decision. The akademi only had the role of totalling the score sent by the jury. It was Meesha that scored the maximum marks. The akademi cannot temper with the score, he said.
The criticism against the award was unwarranted, Mr. Vaisakhan said adding that the controversy had been planned to make a communal divide in political interest ahead of the Assembly elections. Literature should be approached without bias. Even the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to the novel, he said.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha workers burned Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in effigy in protest against the award for the novel.