Social activist Shabnam Hashmi Tuesday returned the National Minority Rights Award to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), conferred on her in 2008, to protest recent incidents of mob lynching and killing of Muslims.
Hashmi returned her award to NCM director T M Skaria on Tuesday, along with a letter to the commission members, saying that she was returning the award because the NCM had “lost all its credibility”.
“I return the National Minority Rights award given by the NCM, which has lost all its credibility, in protest against consistent attacks and killings of the minority communities and total inaction, apathy and tacit support to the violent gangs by the government,” Hashmi said in her letter.
“I am returning it in the memory of the innumerable innocent victims lynched by marauding mobs. Mob lynching and Islamophobia have taken over India. Even before the community can mourn its dead, the next incident takes place. There is an atmosphere of fear and terror. Under the present government, the marginalisation of minority groups has become the norm,” she added.
Javed Anand, who had received the award in 2007, said he too could return the award. “I respect her (Hashmi’s ) decision to do so. Now that she has done so, I will think about it. The point remains that the award was given by the government which was a very different one at that time. And even at that time, while accepting the award, I had said in so many words that I have mixed feelings about accepting the award because the minorities commission has not been doing what it should be doing,” he told The Indian Express.