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Korean Activists Hold Protest, Say Seoul Peace Prize for Modi is a 'Disgrace'

Recalling the Gujarat 2002 violence when he was CM, over 25 NGOs said Modi does not deserve the honour as "he has a history of being complicit in violence against Muslims in India."
Korean activists protest against Modi's Seoul Peace Prize

Image Courtesy: The Live Mirror

Over 25 Korean civil society organisations protested the Seoul Peace Prize 2018 being conferred on India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, citing the 2002 riots in Gujarat that led to the killing of thousands of Muslims. Modi was then the Gujarat Chief Minister.

Modi was selected as the "perfect candidate" for the award by the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation, according to a statement by India's Ministry of External Affairs.

According to the Korea Herald newspaper, human rights organisations and several civil society organisations took to the streets protesting that Modi does not deserve the honour as "he has a history of being complicit in violence against Muslims in India."

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“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 Center for Refugee Rights in Korea and the Korean House of International Solidarity, said at a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday.Human rights groups in Korea say Modi deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in India that killed more than 1,000 people in 2002, the Korea Herald reported.

The protesters also stated that Modi’s selection for the award was also a "disgrace to the past laureates of this prestigious award". Past awardees include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and international relief organizations including Doctors Without Borders.

The protesters in Seoul compared Modi with South Korea’s former President Chun Doo-hwan, who has been accused by some of orchestrating a massacre of civilians during his term in office in the 1980s, the Korea Herald said.

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A former army general and dictator, Chun was South Korea’s president from 1980 to 1988, and was sentenced to death in 1996 for the Gwangju massacre, in which over 600 civilian protesters were said to have been killed by his government.

“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,” they were quoted as saying.

Established in 1990, the Seoul Peace Prize is awarded biennially to people who have made a significant contribution to world peace.

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