Korean NGOs Protest Against Conferment Of Peace Prize To Modi

SEOUL —  At least 20 South Korean nonprofits, including human rights groups, have raised strong objections to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi being awarded the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize, stating that “Mr. Modi’s win is a disgrace to the past laureates of this prestigious award.”

“We demand (the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation) retract its deci­sion to give the Seoul Peace Prize to Mr. Modi,” the 26 groups, including the Centre for Refugee Rights in Korea and the Korean House of International Solidar­ity, were quoted as saying in the South Ko­rean media.

According to local media reports, the South Korean groups further invoked the 2002 riots to argue their case against PM Modi, stating that “Modi deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in India that killed more than 1,000 people in 2002.”

PM Modi is the fourteenth recipient of Seoul Peace Prize, constituted in 1990 to commemorate the success of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul. The past recipients of the award have included Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN’s Secretary General Kofi Annan among others

While announcing the decision to confer the award on PM Modi, the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation had called him a “perfect candidate” and cred­ited “Modinomics” for “reducing social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor” in India.”

A statement by the Ministry of Exter­nal Affairs this week informed the public that PM Modi had accepted the award, which would be bestowed upon him at a mutually convenient time.

“The Committee lauded PM’s initia­tives to make the government cleaner through anti-corruption measures and demonetisation. The Committee also credited Prime Minister for his contribu­tion towards regional and global peace through a proactive foreign policy with countries around the world under the Modi Doctrine and the Act East Policy,” said the MEA statement this week.

However, all the laudatory claims about Modi have been disputed by the Korean NGOs, who have compared the Indian Prime Minister to a former South Korean leader who had a con­troversial past.

“Giving Mr. Modi this prize for ‘Modinomics’ is almost equivalent to giving Mr. Chun Doo-hwan a peace prize for Korea’s economic develop­ment in the 1980s and the hosting of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games,” a Ko­rean protestor was quoted as saying in local media. Doo-hwan had been accused of “orchestrating a massacre of civilians during his time in office, recounted the local media.

Incidentally, the worsening in­come inequality in India had been flagged as a major concern by various interna­tional outfits earlier this year, even as “Modinomics” is lauded for reducing the wage gap in India.

While India’s richest one percent of the population was found to hold 58 percent of country’s wealth last year, survey findings by Oxfam showed that that the share of the wealth of the richest persons had increased to 73 percent this year. According to the sur­vey, India’s poorest saw their wealth rising by one percent during the same period.

PM Modi is the fourteenth recipient of Seoul Peace Prize, constituted in 1990 to commemorate the success of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul. The past recipients of the award have included Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN’s Secretary General Kofi Annan among others.

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