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Kuldip Nayar presented lifetime achievement award

Staff Reporter

Asks the young generation, entering the field of journalism, to work with honesty

— Photo: Sandeep Saxena

BEING HONOURED: PUCL president K.G. Kannabiran presenting the lifetime achievement award to veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar at the Shaheed Shankar Guha Niyogi Memorial lecture in New Delhi over the weekend.

NEW DELHI: People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) president K.G. Kannabiran on Saturday warned those waging a war against globalisation that they would be fighting a losing battle if they did not join hands and remained compartmentalised in their struggles.

Delivering the Shaheed Shankar Guha Niyogi Memorial Lecture on “People’s Resistance and State Repression: State Against its Own People,” Mr. Kannabiran said all the aspects of the struggle against liberalisation — be it displacement, environment or human rights — were related and had to be seen in totality by all the players concerned. “You cannot fight it [globalisation] without focus. Shed all the prejudices and ideological differences and move beyond the analysis,” he said.

Referring to the life and times of Niyogi, who was shot dead in the early hours of September 28, 1991, Mr. Kannabiran said Niyogi had taken up the onerous task of organising the unorganised workers with the keenness of a learner.

Mr. Kannabiran said Niyogi was never in favour of violating the Constitution but forcing his opponents to implement laws in its totality. “His killing was the culmination of a long drawn conspiracy on the part of the industrialists involved who had been advised to discredit him,” he said. The PUCL president quipped that all political party these days had similar skeletons in their cupboards. “It is time to devise new structures and restructure our politics and ideologies,” he said.

Talking about the role of the State, Mr. Kannabiran said perhaps the only role left now for it was to purchase arms because, in the name of not interfering with market forces, the State was playing the role of a mere facilitator for the big companies.

Mr. Kannabiran also lashed out at the political parties for replacing one draconian Act like the Prevention of Terrorism Act with another, the Unlawful Activities Act, which was equally draconian. “In fact, once the Government has agreed to be a partner in the war against terrorism at an international level it is impossible for it not to have a draconian anti-terror law,” he argued.

At the end of the first day of the two-day convention, organised by Indian Social Action Forum, Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha and Chhattisgarh Labour Institute, veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar was presented with the Shaheed Niyogi Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in people-oriented journalism.

Expressing his gratitude, Mr. Nayar asked the younger generation, particularly those entering journalism, to work with honesty and dedication.

The first prize, with a cash component of Rs.25,000, went to journalist Anil Chamadia. However, Mr. Chamadia did not accept it and requested the organisers to use the money for other purposes.

Speaking about the challenges before the media, the first recipient of the Award (in 1998), Anand Swaroop Verma, said blacking out people-oriented news was a built-in mechanism that has always helped liberalisation. “It would be no surprise, therefore, if in future genuine protests of the people would be repressed by the State who would brand them as naxalites or terrorists and everybody would believe it because people-oriented media would have been silenced,” he said.

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