Hashmi returns Minority Rights Award over mob killings

Social activist says NCM has “lost all its credibility”

Published - June 28, 2017 12:34 am IST - New Delhi

Noted social activist Shabnam Hashmi on Tuesday returned the National Minority Rights Award, protesting against the recent mob killings, the latest being that of a Muslim youth near the national capital.

Ms. Hashmi, who was presented the award in 2008, said the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), which conferred the award, had “lost all its credibility,” and hit out at the chairperson of the body over his “condemnable statements”.

NCM chairperson Gayorul Hasan Rizvi recently courted controversy, saying those who cheered Pakistan’s victory in the Champions Trophy final against India should be “deported” to that country.

“I return the National Minority Rights Award, which has lost all its credibility, in protest against the consistent attacks and killings of the members of the minority communities and total inaction, apathy and tacit support to the violent gangs by the government,” Ms. Hashmi wrote in a letter to the commission.

It comes nearly two years after an episode where a number of authors, film-makers and scientists returned national awards in the wake of the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over rumours of beef consumption.

Earlier, she visited the commission and handed over the award and the citation to its Director T.M. Skaria. Ms. Hashmi said she tried contacting Mr. Rizvi but he was not available.

The award carried no cash component before 2011 and used to come with a citation. However, in 2011 the Minority Affairs Ministry approved a proposal to attach a cash component of ₹2 lakh (for individuals) and ₹5 lakh (for organisations).

The citation that Ms. Hashmi was given lauded her work in Gujarat after the 2002 riots and also in Kashmir. It mentioned that her work invoked the “wrath of divisive forces,” leading to physical attacks as well.

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