Sahgal, among the writers to give back her Sahitya Akademi award in the wake of the Dadri lynching episode triggering strong reaction from the cultural sphere across the country, said Jaitley's response showed that the government was nervous about huge public response against the increasing incidents of intolerance across the country.

"I am afraid the government is very rattled and nervous about this huge public response and is acting in the way it is and not in an intelligent way," she told reporters on the sidelines of 'Tata Literature Live! the Mumbai Litfest' here.

"The country is anguished about what is happening to defenceless people who are being gunned down, who are having ink thrown on their faces, who are being brutally threatened,"
she said.

"I live in Dehradun. In the bazaar yesterday, a man said to me, 'yeh log khali ladai karna jante hai; inko nahin maloom kal kya hoga' (These people know only to fight, they don't know what will happen tomorrow),” Sahgal cited.

"They are common defenceless people... If a man like Aklaq (the Dadri victim) can be dragged out from his house and brutally lynched...," she said.

Talking to reporters in Patna, Jaitley earlier in the day stepped up attack on those returning awards by calling them 'rabid anti-BJP elements' and stuck to his guns that their protest is a manufactured rebellion.

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