"If you turn the pages of history, the first people who stood up against Adolf Hitler and National Socialism were the intelligentsia in Germany, and it is ironic that in 2015, almost a century later, the first people who have stood up against Narendra Modi and his government are the intelligentsia of India," Congress leader Manish Tewari told reporters.

"Rather than trying to understand the message, the BJP ministers are trying to shoot the messenger," he added. "This is now being contested, repudiated and demolished by the progressive forces across the board irrespective of whether they are affiliated to any political party or not," he added.

The grand old party had earlier dubbed the returning of the awards by eminent personalities from various fields as an 'inqalab' (revolution) against the Central government.

Around ten film-makers returned their National Awards to protest against the rising cases of intolerance in the nation, after the writers, artists and scientists expressed their dissent over growing the same.

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