Malayalam novelist Sarah Joseph is the latest to return Sahitya Akademi Award over rising communal violences in India.

She reportedly said that it is the duty of a writer to protest such social issues.

"The country is now passing through very tough times. I feel it's worse than the black days of the Emergency," said Joseph while announcing her decision to return the award she won in 2003," Sarah Joseph told IANS.

"I was honoured to receive the prestigious award. But now I feel we the writers have a role to play in the way things are going on in our country. So as a matter of protest, I will return the award along with the cash award that I received then," she told reporters.

"There is a fear that has engulfed in what one eats, when one expresses love, and there is some sort of curb on what one wants to write and speak. This does not augur well," she added.

Another Malayalam writer K Sachidanandan had resigned from the Sahitya Akademi General Council and Executive Board, saying that the organisation did not take enough action over murder of Kannada scholar Malleshappa M Kalburgi.

Hindi writer Uday Prakash was the first to return the prestigious award, said reports.

Later, writer Nayantara Sahgal and poet Ashok Vajpeyi had returned the award in protest of murder of rationalists like MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar as well as the shocking Dadri lynching incident, where a mob killed Mohammed Akhlaq in Greater Noida over beef eating rumours.