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12 December 2011

After protest, Jauhar Award conferred upon only six people

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By Shafaque Alam

New Delhi: After much protest, the 23rd Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Award was given to six people Saturday late evening (December 10, 2011) in a function here at India Islamic Culture Centre. These people were awarded for their 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 Bharatiya. 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 Jagdish Tytler.

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.

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