The 4th Annual Goalkeeper Award Ceremony, hosted by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been caught up in a major controversy since the decision to give an award to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came out. Earlier many notable individuals called out the Foundation for its decision and demanded to revoke the award and now celebrities too are opting out of the event.
In the latest development, actors Riz Ahmed and Jameela Jamil have decided to withdraw their participation from the event, scheduled to be held on September 25 & 26.
“Jameela Jamil and Riz Ahmed are no longer participating in Goalkeepers,” the Gates Foundation confirmed while speaking to HuffPost India.
Although the celebrities have themselves not issued a clear statement on their stance, it is widely speculated that their action is a result of the Foundation’s decision to award Modi for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a cleanliness campaign launched by Modi.
Amid the ongoing Kashmir issue and as Kashmiris suffer under the threatening rule of Modi, it is assumed that the actors have decided not to participate in an event, glorifying a violent individual.
“As I’ve said before, when I publicly discuss world politics, especially when war is involved, I become the recipient of a multitude of death and rape threats. As a survivor, I cannot and will not endure that treatment, so I will not be commenting on any of this,” said Jameela on her Twitter account as she subtly hinted on the matter.
On the other hand, Riz has maintained a stony silence on the topic.
Earlier three Nobel laureates had also demanded the Gates Foundation to revoke Modi’s award. Additionally Executive Director of the Polis Project, Suchitra Vijayan and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Arjun Singh Sethi too wrote an article in the Washington Post demanding the same. Currently, a petition is also circulating to oblige the Foundation on taking back its decision.