Cambridge University senate
University officials stand outside Senate House during a graduation ceremony at Cambridge University in eastern England on 23 October 2010.REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Several prominent British scholars have criticised the invite to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Cambridge University in November as part of his UK visit.

These British scholars have now reportedly joined hands with Indian litterateurss who have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards as a protest against the rising intolerance and increasing communal and caste violence in the country for which they blame the BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

The "Faculty, Students and Alumni of Cambridge", in a letter addressed to Vice Chancellor Leszek Borysiewicz, said that PM Modi's visit will bring disrepute to the university, reported First Post.

"Given that your invitation comes at a time when several prominent Indian writers and intellectuals are returning their state honours in protest against the ongoing assault on civil liberties and academic freedom under Mr Modi's government , we believe that Mr Modi's presence at our institution will bring the university into serious disrepute,'' states the letter.

"While these events should concern all right-thinking people, our specific concern about this invitation from one of the world's top universities stems from Prime Minister Modi's government's ongoing attacks on academic freedom and freedom of expression in India.

"We are impelled to ask therefore why the University of Cambridge affords to Mr Modi the very freedom of expression and academic freedom that, despite constitutional guarantees, are being steadily eroded in India," it added.

Several writers in India have returned their prestigious honours, including Sahitya Akademi Awards and Padma Shri, to protest against the murder of rationalists like Malleshappa M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar.

Apart from this, they are also protesting against the Dadri lynching incident, where a Muslim man was killed over rumours that he ate beef.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi on Friday, nearly 100 writers took out a peaceful march here on Friday to protest against increasing intolerance in the country, IANS reported. Writers from across the country gathered at Shri Ram Centre near Mandi House and marched towards Sahitya Akademi in the capital, wearing black ribbons on their heads as a sign of protest.

The writers said that the protest was to express their anger against the government for letting anti-social incidents happen and to attract attention of the academy towards the increasing attacks on litterateurs. The protest was organised just before Sahitya Akademi's emergency meeting to discuss various issues.

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