Imphal: Manipur-based filmmaker and music composer Aribam Syam Sharma has decided to return his Padma Shri award in solidarity with the ongoing mass protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
The veteran filmmaker was conferred the prestigious award for his contribution to Manipuri cinema and the world of films by the late President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2006.
He was also conferred with the ‘Jewel of Manipuri Cinema Award’ in 2015 by the Film Forum of Manipur and the Manipur State Film Development Society. Sharma’s 1990 film, Ishanou (The Chosen One), was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.
“It would be morally wrong to keep an award from a government that does not seem to be heeding the concerns of the people about the controversial Bill,” Sharma was quoted as saying by a media report.
The 82-year-old film director’s decision came barely a week after families of 855 martyrs of the anti-foreigners’ movement of neighbouring Assam — popularly known as the Assam Agitation — returned the citation that the state government had given them in 2016.