V.T. Rajshekar to be honoured with 2018 Mukundan C Menon Human Rights Award
29 December 2018
Mukundan C Menon Award 2018 will be given to V.T. Rajshekar, veteran journalist and the editor of the Dalit Voice in recognition of his work in the pursuit of advancing civil liberties and human rights. The Mukundan C Menon Human Rights Award instituted by The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) is awarded each year to organizations and individuals which embody excellent activism in the defence of human rights. V.T.Rajshekar will be the 13th recipient of the Award.
V. T. Rajshekar has a long history of working for the rights of people especially for the Dalits and other vulnerable groups. He was formerly a journalist on the Indian Express, where he worked for 25 years. Over a period spanning more than half a century, he has represented the sentiments and issues of Dalits in India, mobilized his language and social analysis against upper caste hegemony and Indian apartheid in the form of untouchability and casteism.
He founded the ‘Dalit Voice’ in 1981, which has once described “India’s most widely circulated Dalit journal”. He has been arrested under the draconian TADA and Sedition Act for defending human rights. He is also the author of a great number of pamphlets and books, in which he emphasized , that in Indian context, caste is the common denominator or the base structure on which the super structures like politics, law, religion and social institutions are built. His son Salil Shetty works for Amnesty International in London.
The NCHRO Prize is awarded in memory of Mukundan C Menon the veteran journalist, human rights defender and the first General Secretary of NCHRO. The award was established in 2006 soon after his death on Dec 12, 2005. The award consists of a sum of Rs.25,000, a citation and a memento.
Previous winners included A Vasu, M.Rasheed, Laha Gopalan, CR Neelakhandan, NM Siddique, Leela Kumariamma, SP Udayakumar, Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association, CK Janu, Ram Puniyani, Suresh Khairnar and O Abdulla. This year the award coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.