Why Medha Patkar declined the Basava Award

Medha Patkar, the anti-dam crusader at the centre of the Narmada movement, has declined to accept the Basava award conferred on her by the government of Karnataka. Below is her statement as contained in press release issued by the national alliance of people’s movements.

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“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, the collective opinion of the 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, unorganised sector workers, slum dwellers and government’s attempt at privatisation and corporatisation 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.”

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The department of Kannada and culture had announced the Basava Puraskar 2010 to Medha Patkar by a government notification dated December 3, 2011. Award includes a citation and Rs. 10 lakh for contribution towards social change and promotion of the principles which Saint Basaveshwara championed.

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