Mumbai, November 21st, 2016: Emotions ran high at the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice 2016, as heroes combatting terrorism were honoured for their contribution to the cause. Held on November 20, the event was graced by an august presence of dignitaries including Hamid Karzai, Former President of Afghanistan as the Chief Guest; Dr Farooq Abdullah – Former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Eran Wickeramaratne – Deputy Minister of “State Enterprise Development, Sri Lanka, Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais – Health Minister of UAE, Dr Ravi Zacharias – International Motivational Speaker, Syed Ata Hasnain – Lt. General (Retd.) of the Indian Army and Bollywood actor – Sonam Kapoor.
Instituted in 2005, the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice has acknowledged the tireless efforts of individuals and enterprises across the world towards promoting peace, harmony and social justice.
Opening the evening, Mr. Hamid Karzai – Former President of Afghanistan said, “It gives me tremendous pleasure to be here at this conference organized by Harmony Foundation and the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa is a mother to us all by the virtue of her service to humanity, selflessness, humbleness and the love she showed even to the poorest. I’m honoured to be a part of the award that bears her name, just like her virtues.“
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Abraham Mathai, President Harmony Foundation said, “Over the years, our endeavor has been to inspire humanity through the exemplary acts and sacrifices of those among us. And this year’s awardees give me the hope that our mission will be kept alive. With every passing year, we see touching stories of bravery and compassion, and we all pray that the valiant efforts of our heroes to spread the message of peace do not go in vain. Our heroes this year, including 20-year old Bangladeshi boy, Faraaz Hossain, reaffirms our faith that bravery and compassion have no age or religion. We sincerely believe that stories such as his will encourage a lot more of us to open our minds.”
Faraaz Ayaz Hossain
20-year old Faraaz was caught in a terrorist attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In spite of being allowed by the terrorists to walk away, he chose to stay back with his friends and lost his life in the process.
Syria Civil Defense (The White Helmets)
This group of 3,000 local volunteers is a Syrian search-and-rescue organization operating in rebel-controlled Syria comprises of tailors, engineers, students, carpenters and so on. They are now dedicated to saving lives when bombs rain in on neighbourhoods, very often risking of their own lives.
Maninderjeet Singh Bitta
Having risen from an ordinary Seva Dal volunteer to Indian Youth Congress President, Maninderjeet has put up a spirited fight against terrorism by spreading awareness about its menace among the youth. Having earned the epithet of Zinde Shahid (Living Martyr), his voluntary organization All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF), has rekindled the fire of patriotism among the youth.
Evacuated from Afghanistan during an attack that took the lives of her UN colleagues, Selene returned to Kabul to use the power of education to infuse fresh hope into the lives of millions of impacted children and youth. Subsequently, she set up Plain Ink – an NGO that educates and trains young people in neglected conflict zones to act as peace builders in their communities.
This 22-year old Senior Flight Purser laid down her own life while saving the lives of three children and 400 other passengers on board the ill-fated PanAm flight that was hijacked by terrorists at the Karachi airport in 1986.
Karambir Singh Kang
The General Manager of The Taj Mahal Palace & Hotel, Karambir stood firm with his team members rescuing guests and staff from the premises during the 26/11 terrorist attack, despite the great personal tragedy of losing his wife and two sons in the same attack.
Dr. Zeenat Shaukat Ali
Through her organization Wisdom Foundation, Dr. Zeenat has been enshrining the principles of non-violence and peace. The organization has been mobilizing priests of different faiths to join the war against the monster of terrorism by providing a platform where they can exchange views regularly, to foster harmony and cohesion to neutralize extremism.
A well-respected national leader from Ghana, Nana was involved in the successful peace efforts in the neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissau. He has displayed selfless qualities during the Arab Spring when he could have grabbed power throwing the entire region into turmoil.
A mother of two daughters and Special Police Officer in Jammu & Kashmir now, Rukhsana’s was the first case of terrorists being felled by a 20-year old lady in the valley in 2009. Not only did she axe to death an LeT terrorist who barged into their home, but also wounded another while her brother and she moved their family to safety.
The Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice honours the martyrs who laid down their lives when Mumbai was under siege on 26th November 2008.
- Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Special Action Group of the National Security Guards (NSG)
- Hemant Karkare, the Joint Commissioner of Police, Chief of Mumbai Anti- Terrorist Squad
- Ashok Kamte, Additional Commissioner of Police
- Vijay Salaskar, Senior Police Inspector
- ASI Thukaram Omble
- PSI Bapurao Sahebrao Dhurgude
- PSI Prakash Pandurang More
- ASI Balasaheb Bhosale
- Police Constable Yogesh Shivaji Patil
- Police Constable Arun Raghunath Chite
- Police Constable Ambadas Ramchandra Pawar
- Police Constable Jaywant Hanumant Patil
- Police Constable Vijay Madhukar Khandekar
We also acknowledge the living heroes of the Mumbai Police.
- Sadanand Date, Additional Director General of Police
- Rajvardhan Sinha, Special IG of Police
- Arun Jadhav, Head Constable
HE Abdulla Z.AL. Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation of the U.A.E – Mr. Nayhan is being awarded for his role in being an inspiration to the youth against radicalization. Receiving the award on his behalf was Mr. Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammed AL Owais, the Health Minister of UAE.
Dr Farooq Abdullah – Former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, said, “I would like to thank the Harmony Foundation for inviting me to the Mother Teresa Memorial International Awards. I strongly believe that India is a country for people from every race and religion and that in unity lies our diversity. When we try to destroy the diversity is when the nation will destroy itself.“
Sr. M. Prema, Superior General, Missionaries of Charity said, “We congratulate all the awardees. May we all strive to live God-centered lives so that we can contribute in bringing peace in our families, city, country and the world.”
The Award ceremony was accompanied by a Conference on Combatting Terrorism which drew views from all the top leaders in attendance.