"All the six Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation Aralu Sahitya Award winners have returned awards, disappointed over the delay in the arrest of the killers of Kalburgi," Kannada Sahitya Parishat President Pundalik Halambi told reporters here.

Kalburgi was shot dead at point-blank range by two unidentified men at his residence on August 30. His murder had raised a storm over threat to free speech. Police are still clueless on the killers and their motive, even as they are probing the suspected role of right wing fringe elements. CID is investigating the case which the government has announced would be taken over by CBI.

Veeranna Madiwalar, T Satish Javare Gowda, Sangamesh Menasinakai, Hanumanth Haligeri, Shridevi V Aloor and Chidanand Sali were conferred the awards on November 22, 2011, at a function where Kalburgi was honoured with the prestigious Nrupatunga Prashasti.

"It is a simple gesture to exert pressure on the state government to nab the culprits," Javare Gowda had said before announcing their decision to return the awards.

As a mark of protest, the young writers returned their awards and demanded speedy arrest of people who killed the progressive writer, Halambi stated.

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