India: Inaugural Cyril Baselios Catholicos medal to Medha Patkar for social justice struggles
Saturday January 19 2008
Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram
Medha receives award Special Correspondent
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Social activist and human rights campaigner Medha Patkar received the Cyril Baselios Catholicos Award for championing the cause of the downtrodden and the marginalised in the country from Governor R.L. Bhatia at a function here on Friday.
The award, instituted by a charitable society under the Malankara Catholic Church in memory of its Major Archbishop, Cyril Baselios Catholicos, carries a purse of Rs.1 lakh and citation.
Ms. Patkar said the downtrodden sections of society fighting to assert their right to existence in places such as Narmada Valley and Nandigram would share the award money. Accepting the award, Ms. Patkar spoke of the pain and suffering of large sections of poor people being dispossessed by greed and insensitivity. She said it would be a long battle for them to survive. She spoke of her vision of networking the battling groups with the support of all good people to build up a broad platform of resistance in the country.
Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi presided over the function. Mar Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop and Catholicos of the Malankara Catholic Church, delivered the benedictory address.
Mumbai ~~ Saturday January 9 2008
Struggle will continue: Medha
T’PURAM: The struggle going on in places like the Narmada valley and Nandigram will have to be taken further through people’s politics “that will make electoral politics behave,” activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar said on Friday.
Speaking after receiving the first Cyril Mar Baselios Award from Governor R.L.Bhatia here, she said that the time had come for secular forces to unite, which can happen only if the vision of politics and economy was the same.
Announcing that she would share the award money of Rs 1 lakh with the marginalised communities which were fighting for existence and justice , Medha Patkar said that “all these battles are linked and are to be linked.”
In places like the Narmada valley, the demand was not just rehabilitation, but fairness and justice in planning and distributing the benefits of development.
The communities that are taking the “brunt and backlash” of communal forces across the country need to be interacting with the forces that stand for secularism and equity, she said.
“We do not beg before anyone. The people are asserting their rights. Modi (Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi) may have won a battle, but the people of Narmada Valley will win the war.”
The award has been instituted in the name of the late Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Church Cyril Mar Baselios who died on January 18, 2007.
The award carries a citation and a purse of Rs 1 lakh. Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi presided.
Catholicos Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis of Syro- Malankara Catholic Church delivered the benedictory address.