Several film directors on Wednesday came forward to return their national awards in support of Film and Television Institute of India students, said reports.

They also cited the murders of rationalists MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare as reasons for returning the prestigious awards.

The first batch of filmmakers who have returned the awards include Dibakar Banerjee, Paresh Kamdar, Anand Patwardhan, Lipika Singh, Indraneel Lahiri, Nishtha Jain, Kirti Nakhwa, Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Rakesh Sharma and Hari Nair.

Banerjee had received awards for two of his films -- "Khosla Ka Ghosla" (2006), "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!" (2008), while Kamdar had garnered National Award for "Rasayatra" (1994).

Patwardhan has got several national and international awards for films inlcuding "Bombay: Our City" (1985), "In the Name of God" (1992) and "Father, Son and Holy War" (1995).

Besides, three FTII alumni including Vikrant Pawar, Rakesh Shukla and Prateek Vats will also return their awards, said reports.

On Wednesday morning, the FTII called off their 139-day-long strike to oppose the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the institution.

Earlier, several writers and poets had returned their Sahitya Akademi and even Padma Shri awards to protest increasing communal violence in the country.