GROW Vasu to receive Mukundan C Menon Award
Sunday, 10 December 2006
One of the best known human rights activist in Kerala, Mr. A. Vasu (GROW) will receive the first Mukundan C Menon Human Rights Award, said CHRO officials in a press briefing. A. Vasu is better known as Grow Vasu, which is symbolized with his independant trade union.
The award was instituted to remember Late Mukundan C Menon and support initiatives for human rights activities in the state, in line with CHRO’s broader objectives. Criteria for the selection of the award is based on recipient’s efforts on resistance against imperialism, fascism and state sponsored terrorism, protection and respect for human rights issues of oppressed people like Adivasi (Tribals), Dalis and minorities, women and children and sustainable ecology.
Based in Kerala, the Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (CHRO) stand to protect, uphold and strengthen the rights of traditionally exploited and oppressed marginalized social segments of Tribals, Dalits, Minorities, Backward Castes, Women and victims of State Violations.
CHRO (Confederation of Human Rights Organizations) was formed in 1997, as an effort to have a common platform for of individuals and organizations that have been fighting for the cause of human rights in Kerala. CHRO was formed to serve as a means of maintaining liaison, exchanging information, and coordinating activities among indviduals as well as organizations in order to improve the efficiency of human rights concerns in Kerala.
Mukundan C Menon, Former Secretary General of Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (CHRO) and Resident Editor of Thejas Daily, died on 12 Dec, 2005. Menon was a leading human rights activist for over 35 years and helped to found a number of India’s national non-governmental human rights organizations including PUCL . He was a relentless advocate for securing the freedom of those struggling for their dignity and basic human rights.
The recipient of the award, Mr. A. Vasu is one of the most respected trade unionist and leader of Gwalior Rayons Workers’ Organisation (GROW) which became a synonym of environmental friendliness. Earlier, his prolonged hunger strike had forced the government to negotiate with the business tycoon, Birlas and reopen the Mavoor plant. Later, the factory was closed down by Birlas due to mass protests against the pollution of chaliyar river . The judiciary sentenced top officials of the Birlas company to 18 months jail and imposed penalties. This was for allowing toxic effluent to flow from the factory into the Chaliyar river. For about 40 years, the pollution impact was alleged to have caused illnesses ranging from respiratory diseases to skin rashes and cancer in people living near the river.
There after, Mr. A. Vasu became a favourite head figure of environmental and human rights activists in the state. He resisted police aggression against Tribals in Muthanga on February 19, 2003. He has worked as the chairman of the Solidarity committee in support of Father Pallath ‘s struggle and Convenor of Legal aid committee of Mr. Abdul Nasar Maudhani . Thus, Mr. A. Vasu has taken bold actions to demand justice for the suffering of Dalits, Tribals and victims of minority communities on various occasions. He has served as the conscience of the new left in Kerala and an inspirational force behind the rise of progressive politics among its people. Mr.Vasu has used his organizational skills as a powerful advocacy mechanism to protect human and economic rights of the victims.
The award will be presented on 12 Dec 2006, at YMCA Hall, Thiruvananthapuram at a function to remark the first death anniversary of Late Mukundan C Menon. The award which carries Rs.10,000 and a momento will be rewarded every year to best human rights activists in the state. The event will be inaugurated by former minister, Mr. G. Karthikeyan. Kerala’ s well known legal activist, Mr. Vincent Panikulangara, will deliver the key note address . Participants include alternative media representatives like Mr. B.R.P. Bhaskar (Vigil India) and N.P. Chekkutty (Executive Editor, Thejas Daily). Advocate Mohammed Shareef, the Chairman of CHRO will be on presiding desk.
CHRO General Secretary Dr. Abdul Salam, Media Cell convener K.P.O. Rahmathullah, Legal Cell Convener Advocate Sadiq Naduthodi were present at the press meeting.