Award for Frontline journalist

Print edition : November 25, 2016

R. Ilangovan, receiving the award and citation from Justice K.N. Badsha, former judge of the Madras High Court. Others are (from left) Justice S. Vimala, judge of the Madras High Court; G.M. Akbar Ali, former judge of the Madras High Court; Justice Shivaraj V. Patil; and N. Chenbagaraman, former Inspector General of Police, Tamil Nadu. Photo: G. Moorthy

R. ILANGOVAN, Associate Editor, Frontline, is the recipient of this year’s Justice Shivaraj V. Patil Award for “social justice and human rights crusade”. Justice Shivaraj V Patil, a former judge of the Supreme Court and a former Acting Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, set up the Foundation for Socio-Legal Studies and Development in his name in Madurai as a social organisation engaged in the work of making the poor legally aware.

Dalit issues, including atrocities and discrimination against them, have formed a large part of Ilangovan’s body of work over more than three decades as a journalist with The Indian Express, The Hindu and Frontline. He has reported from the field on atrocities against disadvantaged groups since the Dalit resistance in Kodiyankulam village (Tuticorin district) in the 1990s; on violence by the police against Dalits in Gundupatti, a remote hill village in the upper reaches of the Palani Hills; on the massacre in Melavalavu (in Madurai district) in 1997 following the election of a Dalit as village panchayat president; and many more. His reports were the basis for the State government setting up three inquiry commissions. He has also written extensively on environmental issues, among them the marine pollution in the Gulf of Mannar and the uncontrolled sand mining across Tamil Nadu.

The award was presented at a function held in Madurai on October 21 presided over by Justice Shivaraj V. Patil.

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