Skip to main content

Flutter around "Muslim" activist's exit from top NGO, whose foreign funding was cancelled by Modi govt

Shabnam Hashmi
By Our Representative
There is a huge flutter in India’s top civil society circles around the sudden resignation of a 'Muslim' rights activist, Ovais Sultan Khan, from a highly acclaimed campaign voluntary organizations, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (Anhad), founded by well-known social worker Shabnam Hashmi. Formed in the after the 2002 Gujarat communal riots, it was supported, among others, by top bureaucrat-turned-activist Harsh Mander and leftist historian KN Panikkar.
The flutter follows an open resignation letter of Khan as managing trustee of Anhad, published in Milli Gazette, which calls itself India’s “leading Muslim newspaper”, alleging “discrimination” because he attempted to “speak as a Muslim.”
Running into about 2,600 words, the letter, even as calling Hashmi “eminent human rights and minority rights activist”, says that those at the helm of affairs in Anhad sought to paint him as “a fundamentalist and an autocratic.”
Refusing to go into the strong allegation, Anhad, in an short rejoinder released on Facebook, signed by its trustees – Aban Raza, Amrita Nandy, Harsh Mander, Mukhtar Sheikh, Shabnam Hashmi and Shubha Menon – said, how in June 2017 its “founding and senior trustees” decided to move out and hand over the running of Anhad trust to the next generation, as a result of which the managing trustee's post went to Khan.
A year later, however, “many friends of Anhad felt that it would be good for a few of the founding trustees to rejoin the Trust, at least for a while, to ensure continuity of Anhad’s values along with change.” As a result, “A meeting of the trust was convened by the new trustees, which all except Khan attended, despite notice and consent.”
Ovais Sultan Khan
Anhad is one of the NGOs, which the Narendra Modi government barred from receiving foreign funds in December 2016 alleging that it was involved in "undesirable activities against public interest". Other NGOs whose foreign funding license was cancelled around the same time included Gujarat-based Dalit rights organization Navsarjan Trust, Sabrang Trust run by another senior woman human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, and the international environmental NGO Greenpeace.
Khan, says the Anhad rejoinder, “did not abide by the unanimous decision of the remaining trustees and, instead, three hours before the trust meeting unilaterally appointed two other trustees, whose names were never discussed either in the trust.”
This led the trustees to decide to not allow Khan to continue as managing trustee, though asking him to continue as a regular trustee, the rejoinder asserted, adding, following this, “Khan went public with his resignation” providing a “long and factually incorrect public statement, which diverts from the real facts of what led to his exit from Anhad.”
Khan, in his open letter, claims that under his young leadership Anhad expanded its wings as never before. “I attempted to heterogenise and humanise the protests for more deep engagement with those new non-activist people who want to join us but they fear”, adding, during the one year he was managing-trustee, Anhad “reached to those nameless marginalised Muslims, Dalits, women and OBCs who have never had been contacted.”
However, he regrets, he was made a subject of ridicule for highlighting the cause of the Muslims. “I told them that their problem is my Muslim identity”, he says.
Among the activities he recounts included his “solidarity visit” to the Aligarh Muslim University during the protests on the issue of attack on former vice-president Dr Hamid Ansari; and the Insaaf Yatra from Delhi to Muzaffarnagar-Shamli to “build pressure on local administration” not to withdraw criminal cases of those involved in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal violence and release of innocent juveniles jailed in alleged cases of cow slaughter.

Comments

manan said…
Muslim identity never was not a problem with ovais but he diverted from core values of Anhad which is equality social justice and human rights. Anhad refused to accept narrow idea of justice.#IStandWithAnhad

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.