Mukundan C. Menon
Mr. Mukundan C Menon, Secretary General of the Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (CHRO) and Consultant Editor of Thejas News Daily, died today, 8.45 A.M at KIMS hospital, Thiruvananthapuram. He was 57. He was a relentless advocate for securing the freedom of those struggling for their dignity and basic human rights. Hundreds of people including many human rights activists and social leaders from all communities came to pay condolences to the bereaved family. Mr. Mukundan C. Menon would be best remembered for the role he played as a free media journalist. Menon who wrote against hindutva fascism had been accused of being a terrorist sympathiser by the Sangh Parivar dominated media. Menon was a leading human rights activist for over 35 years and helped to found a number of India's national non-governmental human rights organisations. He was jailed during the infamous emergency period. As a human rights activist, Menon presented the cases of numerous political prisoners and sought justice in many high-profile cases including that of Mr. Abdul Nasar Maudani. He vigorously condemned the responsibility of the security forces in human rights violations and the high level of impunity which benefits those responsible for human rights violations.
Mr. Menon’s bravery was not only confined to criticising the acts of hindutva fascism. He was one of the few who spoke out openly for fair media practices in order to expose human rights violation. National Development leader, Prof. P. Koya today expressed his organisation's condolences to the family of Menon. NDF collaborates closely with CHRO, and had strong personal ties to Mukundan C Menon. ‘Menon was a human rights activist without peer in our country. His optimism, energy, and creativity are legendary, and the sophistication and integrity he brought to the work of monitoring will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues in our country. Menon’s death is a loss to the human rights movement everywhere, especially to human rights activists and victims of abuses in India, where his work brought hope and life to thousands of people. His ability to translate information about human rights violations into concrete political change was extraordinarily motivating, and set a standard for all to follow. He will remain a legend in the minds and hearts of the people of India who fought for truth and justice. He was an activist very much in touch with the ordinary people, thus gaining their support. Menon's life will remain an inspiration to the human rights movement in our country,' Prof. Koya said.
The staff of Thejas daily expressed their personal appreciation of Menon’s inspiration, and their deepest condolences to his wife, and his many friends. Menon led a quiet but defiant struggle under very difficult circumstances. Even in weak health and with threats to his life, he personally took part in various training sessions of the soon launching Thejas Daily. Menon was a brilliant organiser and leader. He leaves behind a legacy of activism in the most difficult of circumstances and an active movement of people to continue the monumental tasks he initiated. ‘In this sad moment, we cannot do better than to pledge to continue the struggle initiated by Menon until complete and real justice is attained for the cause for which he fought’, a senior journalist of Thejas Daily said.
Monday, 12 December 2005
Revolutionary Democracy recalls the sterling work of Mukundan C. Menon in the Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights in Delhi for the release of the prisoners of the CPI ML and the campaign to save the lives of the two tribal revolutionaries Kista Gowda and Bhoomaiah who were ultimately hanged during the emergency. This work led to his own incarceration in the emergency years (1975-77). He edited the journal Third World Unity after his release between 1978 and 1980 which became a rallying point for the adherents of the theory of the three worlds which was embraced by the principal revolutionary trends at that time. As the Delhi State secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties his work was instrumental in paving the way for the Supreme Court directive that the death penalty be awarded only in the rarest of the rare cases. His commitment to the human rights movement continued subsequently in Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram where he worked as a journalist. An avid reader of this journal, his overview of the civil liberties situation in India in the thirty years after the emergency was published in our previous issue.
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