Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday received the prestigious Goalkeepers Global Goals Award for his Swachh Bharat programme amidst protests from around the world. Meanwhile, a 42-year-old staff member working as Communications Specialist with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has resigned in protest of her organisation’s decision to honour Modi. Sabah Hamid of Kashmiri origin resigned claiming that her organisation’s decision was wrong since Modi’s actions had inflicted ‘irreversible harm on the vulnerable’ particularly in Kashmir.
“The Gates Foundation is awarding the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, with its annual Global Goalkeeper award. I believe this is wrong. In my opinion, any organisation that works to improve the lives of the vulnerable, and to reduce inequality in the world, should not honour a person whose decisions inflict irreversible harm on the vulnerable and whose reign has increased inequality in an already unequal country manifold. Since the foundation seemed set on its course of action to go ahead with the award – which as a private foundation it is entitled to – I could do just one thing: leave,” Hamid told TRT World.
Hamid said that she had expressed her displeasure with her bosses but she ‘realised very quickly that this was a decision that would not be changed.’ She said that being a Kashmiri partially influenced her decision but ‘that wasn’t the sole reason.’
She added, “Being Kashmiri makes it personal. Eight million of my people have been under an undeclared curfew for 50 days now, with minimal access even to medical care, and there is a humanitarian crisis underway in the valley. The Modi led government has not only designed and implemented this crisis, their untruths and the complicity of a large part of the media means they are also trying to hijack the narrative. Being feted at large international gatherings, and winning awards plays right into that.”
Over one lakh people had signed an online petition urging the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to rethink their plans to honour PM Modi in light of his questionable policies violating the human rights of Indians, particularly in Kashmir. But the foundation had refused to change its mind.