The global association of writers PEN International has written a letter to Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Shahitya Akademi demanding immediate action to 'safeguard the rights of artists and writers.' 

Delegates from over 150 countries took part in the 81st congress of PEN International in Quebec, Canada and expressed solidarity with the Indian writers and artists, who have recently returned their awards, as reported by PTI.

PEN association, world's leading association of writers, seeks to promote literature and also defend freedom of speech.

"We stand in solidarity with more than fifty scholars, intellectuals, novelists and poets who have returned their shahitya Akademi awards. We admire their courage" PEN International President John Ralston Saul wrote to the Indian President and PM.

"As President of PEN International, we share our strong views that the Indian government must take immediate measures to safeguard the interests of everybody including the people, the letter and spirit of the constitution" Saul further said, as reported by Press Trust of India.

The global association of writers also expressed concern over the crisis following the murder of noted scholar and intellectual M.M.Kalburgi and activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

Professor M.M Kalburgi, a noted scholar, writer and academician, was shot dead on 30 August by two unidentified men in Dharwad district of Karnataka.

The Sahitya Akademi award is India's highest literary award, which recognises outstanding contribution by an individual in any major Indian language, according to the official website.

Many poets, writers and intellectual, recipients of the Sahitya Akademi award have returned their award to protest against the murder.

Questioning the government for not taking any step, some of the people who have returned their Sahitya Akademi award are: Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpeyi, Gurbachan Bullar, Gulam Nabi Khayal, Rajesh Joshi and Atamjit Singh.

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