The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is facing massive criticism from prominent South Asian lawyers, human rights activists and philanthropists in the United States (US) after it announced to honour Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi with an award, The Guardian reported.

According to the details, the foundation is said to give Modi “The Global Goalkeeper” award for his “Clean India Programme” under which millions of toilets were set up and benefits of sanitation and hygiene were publicised.

Reacting to the news about the award, a group of South Asian Americans working in philanthropy on Tuesday wrote an open letter to the Gates Foundation, alleging that Modi had effectively confined millions to their communities.


The letter also urged the organisation to rescind the award.

“For over a month now, PM Modi has placed 8 million people in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) under house arrest, blocked communications and media coverage to the outside world, detained thousands of people, including children, and denied basic benefits,” said the letter.

The award comes amid growing criticism of detention and deportation of Muslims in Assam and Kashmir and human rights violations in IoK since August 5 under Modi’s rule have made front pages around the world.

While Modi’s government claims that the programme has given 90% of Indians access to clean toilets, press reports suggest otherwise. Reports claim that many of the newly-built toilets remain unused because of poor access to water and caste rules that restrict people from cleaning them.