Agnes gets Hrant Dink intl award in Istanbul

Companion Amita Sangma in the dark

GUWAHATI/ SHILLONG: The rights activist from Meghalaya and president of Civil Society Women’s Organisation, Agnes Kharshiing, was conferred the 11th International Hrant Dink Award at a ceremony held at the Lütfi Kirdar International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Istanbul on Sunday.
Kharshiing received the award from human rights defender and award committee member, Emma Sinclair-Webb, and 2018 International Hrant Dink Award laureate, Murat Çelikkan.
The annual award is presented by the Hrant Dink Foundation to commemorate the birth anniversary of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian intellectual and journalist.
Along with Kharshiing, Turkish human rights activist Nebahat Akkoç, who works to raise awareness among women on their rights, was also conferred this year’s award.
An advocate of rights of women, children and the disadvantaged besides environment in Northeast India, Kharshiing has also been vocal against corruption in the state’s policies.
“The public should start speaking out, give assistance to the vulnerable, help them when human rights are violated so that humanity overcomes hatred. Together we can do a lot and usher in peace in this world where children can be filled with love and not fear,” Kharshiing said after receiving the award.
Kharshiing was accompanied by her daughter Clair Kharshiing, brother John F Kharshiing and sister in-law to Istanbul.
On November 8 last year, she along with her companion, Amita Sangma, were brutally attacked by a mob when they had gone to Sohshrieh in East Jaintia Hills to follow up a case relating to detection of five coal-laden trucks parked in a locality in Shillong.
A different tale
When contacted for her response, Amita said, “It is news for me. I am yet to know about the matter. Nobody informed me anything (about the award).”
When the miscreants confronted them in November last, Amita had pleaded with them to spare Agnes and not to cause any harm to her but in the process, they also attacked Amita with stones and sticks injuring her head and fingers.
When Agnes became unconscious after the miscreants assaulted her, it was Amita, who was conscious, who told the police to first take ‘madam’ (Agnes) to the hospital.
“My fingers are still not in good condition,” she said
When asked whether she too deserved recognition, Amita said, “My job is to save people and not to seek glory.”
Amita, whose husband passed away years ago, has to look after seven children. “With no support from any quarters, I am not being able to pursue the assault case,” she said.
Recently, the government announced the release of medical bills of both Amita and Agnes.
Amita had expected adequate compensation from the government beyond the reimbursement of medical bill and the matter is pending with the Assembly committee on empowerment of women.

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