Social activist Medha Patkar has declined the Basava Award instituted by the Karnataka government in view of its inability to deal with various corruption cases.
The National Alliance of People’s Movement said in a press release:
“It would have been an honour to receive this [Basava] award in the name of revolutionary saint poet, philosopher Shri Basaveshwara of 12th century who promoted social change, reform and communal harmony. However, collective opinion of movements I am associated with suggests that Karnataka government has not been able to deal with the mining scam and other scandals. The Lokayukta controversy is not yet over and there are disagreements with people's movements on certain policies related to farmers, workers, unorganized sector workers, slum dwellers and government's attempt at privatization and corporatization of scarce natural resources - land, water, forests and minerals. I, therefore, would like to state with humility my inability to accept the award which you may be free to give to any other deserving activist.” Medha Patkar said at a public meeting in Belgaum, Karnataka yesterday (February 7).
The Karnataka government’s Department of Kannada and Culture had announced bestowing the Basava Puraskar 2010 to Medha Patkar by a government notification dated December 3, 2011. The award contains a citation and Rs. 10 lakh for contribution towards social change and promotion of the principles which Saint Basaveshwara championed.
Medha Patkar is currently leading Lokshakti Abhiyan which started its fourth phase campaign on February 6 from Mumbai. The Abhiyan is being joined by farmers, activists, academics from different states and will travel through Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
The Lokshakti Abhiyan has already been to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Other members of the Abhiyan in this phase include Suhas Kolhekar, Suniti S R, Roshanlal Agarwal, Nageh Tripathy, Vedvati, Raj Singh, Naseevar Babu, Kamlesh, Seela Manswanee, Madhuri Shivkar, Gee Ammena, Ashu and others.