New Delhi: Responding to an appeal
made by more than hundred human rights’ activist, academicians,
journalists, filmmakers and students, suspended Gujarat IPS
Officer Sanjiv Bhatt and Zafar Agha, renowned journalist, TV
anchor and columnist
have declined to share an award with former minister Jagdish Tytler.
Tytler, an accused in the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984, will be
awarded the Maulana Mohd Ali Jauhar Award on 10 December 2011 at
the India Islamic Cultural Centre, New Delhi. Seven others were
scheduled to share the award with him.
“As a young activist, I have seen the anti-Sikh massacre of 1984
of Delhi and behind all this there were somewhere Tytler. So,
how can I share award with somebody, who was involved in such a
horrendous crime,” said Zaffar Agha, Senior Journalist and one
of the recipients of the award while addressing a press conference
here in the capital on Monday.
“My conscience doesn’t allow for
this and I have informed the organisers that I can’t receive this
award,” he added. He also appealed to his co-awardees to
reconsider their decision to accept this award.
The refusal of Agha came when several civil society activists
approached him not to accept the award with Tytler. The decision
of honouring Tytler irked many and subsequently few activist,
journalist and academician made a public appeal on Saturday to
decline the award as a matter of protest.
According to social
activist Shabnam Hashmi, Gujarat IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt
will also be not receiving the award in protest. “We have received
a message from Sanjiv that reads, ‘Told them that I cannot accept
an award or share a platform with Tytler,’ she informed.
Civil Rights’ Activist, Mahtab Alam, who is one of the petitioner
of the appeal said, “Some of also approached the organiser to drop
the name of Tytelar but he refused to budge, saying there is
nothing wrong awarding him."
“It is also regrettable that an award being given by members of a
minority (Muslim) community is honouring someone who has played a
key role in the victimisation of another religious (Sikh)
minority”, Mahtab Alam says, “It will send a wrong message to Sikh
brethren. Therefore, we call upon other recipient to boycott this
Other five persons who will be awarded on this occasion are S Y
Quraishi (Chief Election Commissioner of India), Mohd Najeeb
Ashraf Chaudhri ,Chief Income Tax Commissioner, Maulana Mohd.
Haseeb Siddiqui , Chairman, Deoband Nagar Palika Parishad , Nusrat
Gwalliori, Urdu poet, Madhya Pradesh and Begum Rehana AR Andre,
Social Activist and Educationist, Mumbai (Bi-Amma Award).
The activists have also urged Justice (Retd.) MSA Siddiqui,
chairman, National Commission for Minority Educational
Institutions, who is chief guest of the function not to grace the
occasion. “We are hopeful that other listed recipients of award
will follow the suit by declining the award,” said Shabnam Hashmi.
The award, according M. Salim, General Secretary of the Academy,
are given to individuals every year for their extra-ordinary
contribution in their respective fields like, Politics,
Journalism, Social Work, etc. Though the Academy was founded in
1974 at Rampur (native town of M Salim) but this particular
award was instituted in 1989. This is 23th Annual Award ceremony.
M. Salim, is a Senior Urdu Journalist and worked for a long
time with now defunct Blitz Udru, published from Bombay, now