Sanjiv Bhatt, Zafar Agha refuse to share Mohd Ali Jauhar Award with Tytler

By TCN News,

New Delhi: Responding to an appeal made by more than hundred human rights activists, academicians, journalists, filmmakers and students, Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and senior Urdu journalist Zafar Agha have declined to share Maulana Mohammed Ali Jauhar Award with former minister Jagdish Tytler for him being an accused in the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984.

Support TwoCircles

Delhi-based Maulana Moahmmed Ali Jauhar Academy had announced to award eight individuals including Tytler at a function scheduled to be held 10th December 2011 at India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi.

“As a young activist, I have seen the anti-Sikh massacre of 1984 of Delhi and behind all this there was somewhere Mr. Tytler. So, how can I share award with somebody, who was involved in such a horrendous crime,” said Mr. Zafar Agha 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 Mr. 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 a few activists, journalists and academicians made a public appeal on Saturday to decline the award as a matter of protest. According to social activist Shabnam Hashmi, Gujarat IPS officer Mr. 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 Mr. Tytler,’ she informed.

Civil rights activist, Mahtab Alam, who is one of the signatories to the appeal said, “Some of also approached the organiser to drop the name of Mr. Tytler 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 recipients to boycott this award ceremony”.

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 Maulana Mohammed Ali Jauhar Academy, is 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 Mr. M Salim) but this particular award was instituted in 1989. This is 23th Annual Award ceremony. Mr. M. Salim is a Senior Urdu Journalist who has worked for a long time with now defunct Blitz Urdu published from Mumbai.