Riz Ahmed, Jameela Jamil Pull Out of Event Awarding PM Modi

Modi will be honoured for his leadership of the Swachh Bharat Mission by the BIll and Melinda Gates Foundation.

2 min read
Riz Ahmed, Jameela Jamil Pull Out of  Event Awarding PM Modi

Rapper Riz Ahmed and actress and radio presenter Jameela Jamil have decided to pull out of an event organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive the 'Global Goalkeeper Award' for Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.

Gates Foundation has confirmed the same in a statement sent to The Quint. “Jameela Jamil and Riz Ahmed are no longer participating in Goalkeepers,” the statement said.

Modi will be conferred the award on Tuesday, 24 September, during his visit to the USA.

Earlier, Ahmed and Jamil’s decision was tweeted by journalist Azad Essa on Monday, 16 September.

Essa also tweeted an article suggesting that academics and activists have been trying to convince Gates Foundation to withdraw Modi’s award.


Open Letter to Gates Foundation to Rescind Award

Meanwhile, another foundation called South Asian Americans and Allies in Philanthropy has sent an open letter to the Gates Foundation, asking it to rescind the award for Modi.

In an open letter, the 43 signatories said:

“These gross human rights violations must not be diminished, denied, or compartmentalized, and especially not by philanthropic entities such as the Gates Foundation which seeks to address global inequality. Given the Gates Foundation’s global influence and impact on the needs of vulnerable communities, the decision to honor PM Modi sends the message that the lives of Kashmiris, Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits, Christians, and other minority populations in India who are under siege are of less value.”

According to the Gates Foundation, the ‘Global Goalkeeper Award' is a "special recognition" that celebrates a political leader who has “demonstrated their commitment to the Global Goals through impactful work in their country and/or globally.”

Modi will be honoured for his leadership of the Swachh Bharat Mission, which he had launched on 2 October 2014.

The ambitious mission aims to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage in the country by this year as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.

So far, 90 million toilets have been built to eliminate open defecation by 2 October 2019 and currently 98 percent of India's villages have rural sanitation coverage instead of 38 percent four years ago.

The Foundation will host the fourth annual Goalkeepers 'Global Goals Awards' on 24 September.

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