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31 December, 2007

Khaitan Award for Dr. Binayak Sen

Dr. Binayak Sen, General Secretary, People's Union Civil Liberties (PUCL), Chhattisgarh, who has been an undertrial prisoner since May, has been given the prestigious RR Keithan Gold Medal instituted by the Indian Social Science Congress.

The award was received on his behalf by his wife Dr. Ilina Sen at a function held at the SNDT University, Mumbai, on December 29, 2007.

Rajendra K Sail, President, Chhattisgarh PUCL, said in a press realease that about 200 persons, mostly social scientists and administrators, gave a standing ovation as the award for Dr. Sen in recognition of his service to the community was announced.

Dr. B N Mungekar, Member, Planning Commission and Chairperson of the Indian Academy of Social Sciences, presented the award.

The award honours the memory of noted Gandhian activist R R Keithan.

The citation says, "The Academy recognizes the resonance between the work of Dr. Binayak Sen in all it's aspects with the values promoted by the Father of the Nation. In bestowing the Award on him while he is in incarceration and unable to receive it personally, the Academy expresses its solidarity with people's movements and defenders of human rights…

"His work offers fresh and radical interpretation of Gandhiji's core concerns, and his present personal predicament is a poser to all who profess and practice similar ideals. He has rendered a valuable service in the spirit of antyodaya to those of our people whose lives are at the margins of our consciousness, while also creating with them opportunities for their development in the truest human sense of the term".

It recalls that Gandhiji had said “real Swaraj will come not by the acquisition of authority by a few but by the acquisition of capacity by all to resist authority when abused."

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