Sanjiv Bhatt, Zafar Agha refused to share award with Tytlar
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
New Delhi: After much protest, the
23rd Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Award was given to six people
Saturday late evening in a function here at India Islamic Culture
Centre. The awards were given for outstanding
contribution in the field of social service, journalism and
literature. The awards are annually given by Maulana Mohammad Ali
Jauhar Academy based in New Delhi.
The name of the awardees are: Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi, Chief
Election Commissioner, for Social Service; Najeeb Ashraf Choudhury,
IRS, Social Service; Haseeb Siddiqui, Chairman Nagar Palika
Parishad, Deoband, Social Service; Begum Rehana Undri,
Educationalist, Social Welfare, and Urdu Adab; Santosh Bhartiya,
Journalism, and Nusrat Gwaliari, Poet, Urdu Adab.
M Saleem, General Secretary of Jauhar Academy, said that in last
22 years, the academy has awarded hundreds of people for their
extraordinary works in various fields. According to him, those who
were awarded earlier include prominent journalists like Khushwant
Singh and Kuldeep Naiyar.
Last week, the award ceremony ran into a big controversy when more
than hundred human rights’ activists, academicians, journalists,
filmmakers and students made an appeal to the other awardees not
share the award with former minister Jagdish Tytlar, an accused in
the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984. Tytler was also selected for the
award. Responding to the appeal, IPS Sanjiv Bhatt and noted
journalist Zafar Agha refused to accept the award and hence they
were not present in the function on Saturday evening.
On Thursday evening Jagdish Tytler also withdrew himself from the
award. In a letter to M Saleem, General Secretary of the Academy,
he wrote, “I don’t want to embarrass the organizers and the
awardees because of any kind of pressure. Hence I have decided
that I will not join the award ceremony because I don’t want you
and the other awardees to face embarrassment”. Subsequently,
Tytler’s name was dropped.
Zafar Agha was replaced by ex-MP and senior Journalist Santosh
However, M Saleem claimed that Sanjeev Bhatt could not
attend the programme due to time constraint and the award may be
given to him some other time. While referring to Santosh Bhartiya,
being awarded in place of Zafar Agha, M. Saleem said that he has
been nominated for the award and nobody has been replaced for the
same. The organizer kept totally mum about both Zafar Agha and
Guests at the function were, WA Nomani, Aziz Burney, Khawaja M
Shahid, Mrs Waseem Rashid, Dr Balram Jhaker, Sirajuddin Quraishi,
Zafar Ali Naqvi, CP Vyas, Justice MSA Siddiqui and others.