Abhisar Sharma and Former BBC Journalist Qurban Ali Among 14 Journalists To Win Delhi Minorities Commission Award
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, JUNE 9—Former TV anchor Abhisar Sharma, who had to quit ABP in September 2018, for taking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name in connection with a small incident of crime in UP, is among the 14 journalists from Print and TV media who have won Delhi Minority Commision-2019 Awards.
Other prominent journalist-awardees in the list include the executive editor of the Wire Urdu website Mahtab Alam, former BBC correspondent Qurban Ali, veteran journalist and columnist Humra Quraishi, celebrated Urdu journalist and author Masoom Muradabad, Suhail Anjum, budding journalist Shaheen Abdulla, prominent Sikh journalist S. Amrik Singh Kooner and veteran AIR broadcaster Lucy Gabriel Chattopadhyay and Aditya Menon of The Quint.
Sharma was always known to be anti-establishment and critical of the saffron party. But mentioning the name of Modi in his show “Aaj Ki Badi Khabar” proved to be the last straw for Sharma to be thrown out of the ABP group. According to website Newslaundry, Sharma had read out “breaking news” of a shootout in UP’s Sultanpur district, where three gangsters had opened fire on a businessman. Sharma had said, “Pradhan Matri Narendra Modi kal Lucknow mein thay, vyapariyon ko sambodhit kar rahe thay. Uska maqsad ye tha ki bade paimane par vyapari aaen Lucknow-Uttar Pradesh nivesh karein…ye sawal uthna lazmi hai ki apradhmukt kab hoga Uttar Pradesh.(Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Lucknow yesterday and addressed the business community. He wanted businessmen to invest in Lucknow and Uttar Pradesh…In such a situation like this, it is a pertinent question to ask, when will Uttar Pradesh become crime-free?)”.
According to Newslaundry, a heated argument took place between ABP’s Chief Executive Officer and Sharma while Sharma was still live on the channel on July 30, 2018. Sharma subsequently resigned. According to media reports at that time, ABP management was under intense political pressure to kick Sharma out.
Currently, Sharma is one of the few journalists on youtube, including Vinod Dua, whose comments on the current affairs and political developments are the most popular.
Though the awards were announced by DMC chairman Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan at a press briefing in the commission’s office on Tuesday, it could not be given immediately because of restrictions on holding big functions due to lockdown norms that still insist on social distancing despite lot of relaxation from June 8.
Dr. Khan said that he would invite the awardees in batches of 10 to 15 in the DMC office itself and confer the awards to all the winners in due course.
DMC chairman said that “though the DMC awards are for the minorities who represent about one-fifth of Delhi’s 25 million people but the awards have also been given to exceptional people of the majority community who worked hard for communal harmony and stood for a free and fair media”.
As many as 178 persons have been selected for this year’s awards in 14 different categories ranging from academic excellence, communal harmony, community service, human rights, NGOs, promotion of Urdu and Punjabi, sports, supporter of minorities, teachers of substance, print and electronic media, outstanding schools, special awards and lifetime achievement.
The award was instituted first in 2018. This is the second year of the award. “We will try to announce 2020 awards before the tenure of the present Commission comes to an end in July this year. We very much hope that this good tradition will be continued by future Commission also”, said Dr, Khan.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s national secretary Mohammed Iqbal Mulla, Baba Hardip Singh Ji of Gurudwara Gobind sadan Gadaipur, Mehrauli, Fr. Dr. M D Thomas and Fr. Cedric Prakash are among those awarded for their lifelong commitment to promote communal harmony and interfaith dialogue, leading advocate Mehmood Pracha for defending human and minority rights, renowned activist Teesta Setalvad for her lifelong commitment to human rights and rule of law, and the NGO The Quill Foundation for its pioneering work in human rights of marginalized communities.