Mangaluru, January 25th, 2016: The Second Lawrence Pinto Human Rights Award was conferred up on social activist Vidya Dinker at a ceremony held at Kalaangann in Shaktinagar last evening. Prof. M. I. Savadatti, Former Vice Chancellor of Mangalore University, was the chief guest on the occasion.
This is the second edition of the award, which was instituted in memory of the late social worker and trade unionist Lawrence Pinto by ‘Friends of Lawry’, a citizens group comprising his close associates. Lawrence Pinto was also a founding member of Mandd Sobhann, a cultural organization striving for the preservation and promotion of Konkani language and culture.
Eminent consumer activist and president of Federation of Indian Rationalists Associations Prof. Narendra Nayak was the recipient of the first edition of the award, which was conferred on him last year.
The award comprising a citation, a memento and a purse of Rs. One Lakh is given annually to individuals or institutions working for the upliftment of the downtrodden and for fighting for obtaining justice for the oppressed in trade union, social, economic or political fields.
The award was given to Vidya Dinker for her dedicated struggle for the rights of citizens and civil society at large. Her most notable campaign includes organized resistance against the displacement of locals and pressuring the government to drop the proposed further expansion of Mangalore Special Economic Zone through Karnataka Jannbhivriddhi Vedike.
She also served as Joint secretary of NGO Task Force on ADB assisted project in the district, which was a citizen’s watchdog group. She has been continuously fighting on behalf of oppressed citizens for issues concerning women’s’ rights, child rights, human rights and environmental protection. She been a vocal opponent of the increasing communal divide in the region and fought valiantly against ‘moral policing’ inflicted on the citizens by goons belonging to extremist fundamentalist outfits.
Dr. Ravishankar Rao introduced Prof. M. I. Savadatti. Eric Ozario, the Secretary of ‘Friends of Lawry’ and ‘Gurkar’ of Mandd Sobhan gave the introductory address and Lynette Pinto read the citation. Prof. M. I. Savadatti along with Leena Pinto, widow of Lawrence Pinto conferred the award on the Vidya Dinker.
In his address, Prof. M. I. Savadatti said that he was proud to confer this award on one his former students (Vidya Dinker is a postgraduate in Communication and Journalism from Mangalore University). He said it was very important that civil society recognize and encourage those who strive for social causes selflessly.
In her acceptance speech, Vidya Dinker dedicated the award to her parents, her husband documentary film maker Natesh Ullal and all those who worked with her on social issues. She also announced that the cash portion of the award would be used for worthy causes relating to women and children’s rights.
Jacqueline Fernandes was the programme compere and she also proposed a vote of thanks. Loy Noronha, Chairman of ‘Friends of Lawry’ and Walter Veigas, Treasurer were present on the dais.