Pak Human Rights Activist Bags Mother Teresa Award


Mumbai, Oct 27: Noted Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney has received numerous awards and accolades. But this was special. "Yeh dil se dilko jodnewala award hai (this is an award to join hearts)," remarked Burney, after receiving the 3rd annual Mother Teresa Memorial (International) Awards for Social Justice at a glittering function at Sahara Star Hotel on Sunday. TOI's Teach India campaign was among the recipients of the award. The award has been instituted by the Harmony Foundation.

Burney, who has been instrumental in the release of around seven lakh prisoners around the world, including Indian Kashmir Singh who spent 35 years on death row in a Pakistani prison, became a bit emotional while recalling his fight for the innocents. "They issued fatwa from the mosques against me. My family members were scared to go out for quite some time as they felt threatened. But I remained committed to the cause," he said. "If to save one innocent life, I have to die 10 times, I will not flinch," he said.

Talking about the progress in the case of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner who has been on the death row for the last 18 years, Burney said he has already petitioned the Pakistan president to commute the death sentence into life imprisonment. "I have succeeded 80%. I hope I will succeed in my efforts," he said.

Sarabjit's sister Dalbir, who was also present on the stage, was full of praise for a farishta (angel) like Burney, quoting an Urdu couplet: "Khuda ko khuda kahoon ke tumko khuda kahoon/Dono ki soorat ek hai main kisko khuda kahoon (Shall I call God God, or shall I call you God/The faces of both are identical, I don't know whom to call God)."

R B Shri Kumar, the senior police officer who defied Narendra Modi's dictates during the carnage of Gujarat 2002, was also awarded at the function. Julio Rebeiro, former police commissioner of Mumbai, while giving away the award to Kumar, said: "Officers like Kumar set an example by upholding the principles of the Constitution."

RTI activist Sailesh Gandhi and human rights activist John Dayal were among the other recipients of the award. 


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Title: Pak Human Rights Activist Bags Mother Teresa Award

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