Human Rights Activist Fr Cedric Prakash Sj among Others Conferred with FKCA Awards

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Human Rights, Reconciliation & Peace Activist/Writer Fr Cedric Prakash SJ Conferred with FKCA Lifetime Achievement Award; FKCA Professional Excellence Award will be presented to Justice John Michael D’Cunha, former Judge, High Court of Karnataka; and FKCA Best Entrepreneur/Enterprise of the Year Award will be presented to renowned Enterprise M/S. Brilliant Printers Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru

Mangaluru: Federation of Konkani Catholics Association (FKCA), Bengaluru which is a group of 33 Konkani Associations globally, has been announcing its annual awards for the past 24 years and this year too the awards have been announced. This year the Awards will be presented at the 24th Annual Federation Day of FKCA at St Joseph’s Indian High School Auditorium, Vittal Mallya Road, Opp. Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday, June 5th, 2022 at 5.00 pm.

Fr CEDRIC PRAKASH SJ

JUSTICE JOHN MICHAEL D’CUNHA

As per Silvian Noronha, Chairman, FKCA, said that the Lifetime Achievement Award will be conferred on Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ, a Human Rights, Reconciliation & Peace activist/writer. The Professional Excellence Award will be presented to Justice John Michael D’Cunha, former Judge, High Court of Karnataka. The Best Entrepreneur/Enterprise of the Year Award will be presented to renowned Enterprise M/S. Brilliant Printers Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore.

The awards have been instituted every year since 1998, to honour Konkani Catholics for their achievement and services not only to the community but also to the country in various fields. Justice V Gopala Gowda, former Judge, Supreme Court of India will be the chief guest. The guests of honour will be K Jayaprakash Hegde, Chairman of the Karnataka State Permanent Backward Classes Commission and Former MP & Minister, Government of Karnataka.

Prithvi Reddy, State Convener, Aam Aadmi Party – Bangalore, Abraham TJ, President of the Karnataka Anti-Graft and Environmental Forum & Indian Christian United Forum, and Most Rev. Robert Michael Miranda, Bishop of Gulbarga, will preside over the function.

ABOUT FKCA :

FKCA which was founded in 1998 in Bengaluru has grown into a giant organization with global reach. As many as 33 associations of Konkani Catholics in different parts of Bengaluru, Mysore, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Shivamogga, and 11 associations in other countries, including the USA, UK, Canada, Kuwait, Qatar and Dubai, and Abu Dhabi in UAE are affiliated to FKCA.

The Federation works for the cause of Konkan Catholics and also in the larger interests of the community globally. FKCA today has made a strong presence by putting forth and taking up grievances of the Konkani Catholic community with several governments and a united forum in fighting for their rights.

ABOUT FR CEDRIC PRAKASH SJ: (A Regular Contributor of Articles to Mangalorean.com)

Fr Cedric Prakash SJ is a Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) of Gujarat. He is currently based in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat in Western India. He is well known for his work on human rights, reconciliation, and peace activism, with a focus on advocacy. He is also a prolific writer on subjects related to social justice, peace, communal harmony, environment, contextual spirituality, and the Constitution of India. His articles are regularly published in newspapers, magazines, and journals in India and abroad. He is also a visiting faculty in some colleges, universities, and seminaries in India, Europe, and the USA. Fr. Prakash speaks four languages – English, Gujarati, Hindi and French.

Having roots in Mangaluru, Prakash was born on 3 November 1951, to Cynthia Lobo and Conrad Lobo in Mumbai, India. He was the youngest of four children. His father was an Engineer in a sister company of Siemens and his mother was a teacher at St. Joseph’s Convent, Umerkhadi, Mumbai. Prakash is a direct descendant of the well-known Mascarenhas family of Kankanady, Mangaluru. His great-grandfather Dr Simon Mascarenhas was a renowned physician in the town. His great-granduncle Msgr. Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas ( today a Servant of God) was the Vicar General of the Diocese of Mangalore and also the founder of the Congregation of the ‘Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany’ (Bethany Sisters).

Prakash received his early education from Antonio D’souza High School (ANZA), Mumbai, and completed his B.A. (Hons.) in Economics and Political Science from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai in 1972. After graduation, Prakash worked full-time as the National Programme Secretary of the All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF) in Madras for one year. During that period he travelled the length and breadth of the country encouraging youth to serve the poor and marginalized through ‘Project Know India’.

On 16 July 1974, Prakash entered Ahmedabad, the Jesuit Novitiate of the Gujarat province of the Society of Jesus. Two years later, on 31 July 1976, he pronounced his First Vows (of poverty, chastity and obedience) in the Society of Jesus. On 27 April 1985, Fr. Prakash was ordained a priest in St. Peter’s Church, Bandra, Mumbai by Bishop Ferdinand Fonseca, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Bombay. In May 1985, Prakash was appointed to work in the remote areas of Umarpada, South Gujarat among the Vasava and Chaudhary Adivasi communities. He worked here for the rights of the tribals and their socio-cultural empowerment.

Fr Prakash was for several years a Counterpart of the US-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for North and Central Gujarat. On 2 October 2001, Fr. Prakash founded ‘Prashant’ the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace and was the Director of this Centre till January 2016. Fr. Prakash also served as the Secretary of Social Communications – C.B.C.I. (Western Region), National Vice-President – Peoples’ Union for Human Rights (PUHR).

For three years (2016-2018), Fr. Prakash was based in Beirut, Lebanon in the Regional Office of the Jesuit Refugee Service (the Middle East and North Africa Region) as the Regional Advocacy and Communications Officer/Advisor, working with refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon.[5] In collaboration with St Joseph’s University, Beirut he headed and in September 2018 completed a path-breaking research study, ‘Journeying Together’, on the situation of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Fr. Cedric Prakash was conferred The Mother Teresa International Award in 2013. In 1996, Fr. Prakash was awarded The Anubhai Chimanlal Nagarika Puraskar by the Mayor of Ahmedabad for his contribution to the city of Ahmedabad, India. He was also conferred the Kabir Puraskar by the President of India for his work in the promotion of Communal Harmony and Peace in 1995. In 2006, Fr. Prakash was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, one of the highest French civilian awards, acknowledging his commitment to the defense and the promotion of human rights in India.

Fr. Prakash has also been awarded the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award presented for Humanitarian Work by the Indian Muslim Council, USA in 2003. He also received the Fr. Parmananda Divaker Award for Communication for Peace in January 2004 for promoting dialogue for peace and inter-community harmony. In 2006, he received the Minorities Rights Award by the National Commission for Minorities of the Government of India.

The Marquette University in Wisconsin, USA honoured him as the Wade Chair Scholar for the academic year 2009 – 2010. Fr. Prakash was one of the recipients of the Mother Teresa Awards for Social Justice in 2013. On the 1st of December 2021, Fr. Prakash was conferred the Fr. Louis Careno Award by the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) in Mumbai for his courageous contribution to journalism and bold writings on socio-cultural and political issues, especially relating to Christian communalism and fundamentalism.

In October 2018, the Loyola Press Chicago published a brilliant coffee-table-style book ‘Sharing the Wisdom of Time’ by Pope Francis and Friends. One of Fr. Prakash’s real-life stories are featured in it. Pope Francis has written a warm personal response in the book to Fr. Prakash’s testimony.

ABOUT JUSTICE JOHN MICHAEL D’CUNHA:

Mangaluru Origin John Michael D’Cunha is an Indian Judge elevated as a Permanent Judge in the Karnataka High Court on 1 November 2018.

D’Cunha was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court on 14.11.2016. On 27 September 2014 he convicted Jayalalithaa, then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, in her 18-year-old Disproportionate Asset case. He was appointed by the Supreme Court of India to the post in October 2013 as the fifth judge to investigate the case, replacing judge MS Balakrishna.

D’Cunha was born in Gurpur, Kaikamba, on the outskirts of Mangaluru. He studied at SDM Law College in Mangaluru, and then started his law practice in 1985, and formed Manu Associates with fellow advocates Amruth Kini, M P Noronha and Ullal S K. The name “Manu” was formed from the first letter of each partner’s name: ‘M’ for Michael, ‘A’ from Amruth, ‘N’ from Noronha and ‘U’ from Ullal. In 1999, he left Mangaluru to join the Karnataka High Court.

In 2002 D’Cunha joined the judiciary as a District Judge. He has served in the courts of Bengaluru, Bellary, and Dharwad. He also served as secretary to the Chief Justice and Registrar (Vigilance) of the High Court. In June 2015, D’Cunha was appointed as the registrar general of the Karnataka High Court. On 11th Nov 2016, D’Cunha was appointed as a judge in the Karnataka High Court. He retired from the Karnataka High Court on 6 April 2021 upon superannuation.

On 31 March 2021, the bench of Justice D’Cunha refused to quash the FIR against the sitting Chief Minister of Karnataka B. S. Yediyurappa in a case nicknamed Operation Kamala case. At the time of the alleged incident, Yediyurappa was the leader of the opposition.

D’Cunha was appointed by the Supreme Court of India in October 2013 as the fifth judge to investigate the Disproportionate Asset case against Jayalalithaa, replacing judge MS Balakrishna. On 27 September 2014 D’Cunha convicted Jayalalitha, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. In a detailed judgement, he showed that the entire asset belonged to the accused and no one else. She was sentenced to a prison term of four years and fined Rs 100 crore.

TEAM MANGALOREAN congratulates Fr CEDRIC PRAKASH SJ, who has been a regular contributor of Articles to Mangalorean.com for being conferred with the prestigious FKCA Life -Time Achievement Award


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