Bilkis Bano the 82-year-old woman, who led the protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, and prominent civil rights activist Harsh Mander have been conferred with Quaide Millleth award for the year 2020.
Bano and Mander were presented with the award at an event held at India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi on Saturday. The award comprises Rs 2.5 lakhs, a citation and a shawl. Navaid Hamid, President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat presented the award to both the recipients.
Gracing the award ceremony, eminent journalist and former editor of The Hindu, N. Ram praised both recipients for their remarkable presence and effort to protect the secular fabric of the country. He said that the introduction of oppressive and discriminatory acts such as CAA is the true face of the government.
He also said that the efforts of the people like Bilkis Bano who relentlessly fought for their self-determination and secularism of the country would be honoured only if efforts will be made to protect the very Constitution of India which is in the garb of attack under the rule of the present regime.
Masood Raza, former chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir and former IAS officer encouraged the need of launching and propagating the full-fledged movements against all such laws which target any particular community or weaker sections of the society. He stressed over the peaceful and democratic demonstration of dissent against any form of oppression and tyranny by the establishment.
Najla Hamida, the great-granddaughter of Quaide Milleth talked about an emerging picture of Muslim women with regard to Bilkis Bano. She said that Bilkis Bano’s contribution in Shaheen Bagh protests has brought out the true image of Muslim women which was earlier considered that they are only confined to homes and are not capable of claiming their rights.
M.G. Dawood Miakhan, General secretary of Quaide Milleth Educational and Social Trust (QUEST) and grandson of Quaide Milleth said that the Bilkis Bano and Harsh Mander have increased the value of the award as they have played a commendable and courageous role in protecting democracy and the award has reached its true proponents. He targeted the very evident political and public discord in the nation especially with regard to the young generation.
In September, Bilkis Bano was recently recognised by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2020.
The Quaide Milleth Educational and Social Trust was established in 1974 with the objective of promoting educational and social vision initiated by M. Muhammad Ismail, a politician and social worker from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. He was popularly known in Tamil Nadu and Kerala as the “Quaide Milleth”.
The Quaide Milleth Award for Honesty in Politics / Public Life is given to community leaders who are fighting injustices and atrocities in the country. Every year an eminent personality is recognized through this award.
It is given every year since 2015. The former awardees include many social activists and torchbearers of freedom and liberty. They are; A.G Norani, Aruna Rai, Teesta Setalvad, Thol. Thirumavalavan, Syed Shabuddin, Manik Sarkar, R. Nallakannu, N. Sankaraiah etc.