Noted activist Shabnam Hashmi returned her National Minority Rights Award on Tuesday over the recent episodes of ‘lynchings’. This was in protest against the silence around lynchings, the most recent one being that of a Muslim teenager near the national capital. According to Hashmi, the award has “lost all its credibility”. She got the award in 2008 along with with a citation. Her citation lauded her work in Gujarat after the 2002 riots and also in Kashmir. It also mentioned that her work invoked the “wrath of divisive forces”, leading to physical attacks as well.
Hashmi said, “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,” according to PTI.
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Recently, she hit out at the chairperson of National Commission for Minorities, Gayorul Hasan Rizvi over her “condemnable statements”. Rizvi got involved in a controversy when he said that those who cheered Pakistan’s victory in the Champions Trophy final against India should be “deported” to that country.
Hashmi handed over the award and the citation to its Director TM Skaria. Hashmi said when she contacted Rizvi, he was not available. The returning of the National Minority Rights Award comes two years after a number of authors, filmmakers and scientists had returned their awards as a form of protest after the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over rumours of beef consumption.
Today, the award has a cash component of Rs 2 lakh for individuals and Rs 5 lakh for organisations. This award is given to an individual or an organisation every year on Minorities Rights Day on December 18 to those who have extensively worked to protect the rights of minorities.
Hashmi also stepped down as the trustee of ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy), an NGO founded by her as the foreign funding license of the NGO was cancell