NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy has said that she’s returning her National Award for Best Screenplay, to protest recent “horrific murders” that are “only a symptom of a deeper malaise”.

The author of “The God of Small Things” won the National Award for Best Screenplay in 1989 for the film “In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones.”

She announced that she’s returning the award in a column in today’s Indian Express newspaper.

Roy writes that ‘intolerance’ is the wrong word to use in the prevailing climate where a respected academic was killed and two people have been murdered over suspicions they had beef.

“First of all, ‘intolerance’ is the wrong word to use for the lynching, shooting, burning and mass murder of fellow human beings,” she writes. “Life is hell for the living too. Whole populations — millions of Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and Christians — are being forced to live in terror, unsure of when and from where the assault will come,” Roy adds.

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Last month, Mohammad Akhlaq, a resident of Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, was beaten to death after rumours that he had beef in his house. Also last month, 19-year-old Zahid Ahmed, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, died after his truck was attacked with a petrol bomb in Udhampur following rumours that he was carrying beef.

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“Today, we live in a country in which, when the thugs and apparatchiks of the New Order talk of ‘illegal slaughter’, they mean the imaginary cow that was killed – not the real man who was murdered,” Roy writes.