Tuesday Sep 17, 2019
Actors Riz Ahmed and Jameela Jamil have pulled out of an event where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to receive an award.
The fourth annual Goalkeeper Award ceremony, hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were to award Modi for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a cleanliness campaign launched by the Indian government, later this month. “Jameela Jamil and Riz Ahmed are no longer participating in Goalkeepers,” the Gates foundation confirmed to the HuffPost India.
While it is unclear what promoted the actors’ decision, it is being speculated that it may be due to the over a month-long lockdown in the disputed valley of Jammu and Kashmir.
When Jamil was asked to comment on the news reports of her pulling out, she refused. “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,” she wrote on Twitter.
Ahmed has not yet made a public comment confirming or denying the news.
The Gates Foundation’s decision to award Modi has been criticized by academics, and activists. The executive director of the Polis Project Suchitra Vijayan and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Arjun Singh Sethi wrote an article in The Washington Post calling on the Foundation to withdraw the award.
Later, an online petition was also circulated asking the Foundation to reconsider.
The award ceremony is scheduled for September 25-26, when the Indian prime minister will be in the United States.