Indian Americans welcome City of Harvey’s Award presented to Father Cedric Prakash

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Fr. Cedric Prakash accepting the award from Mayor Eric Kellogg of Harvey City

Fr. Cedric Prakash accepting the award from Mayor Eric Kellogg of Harvey City

USA, November 21, 2012: The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has welcomed the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ presented on Monday, November 19 to renowned Indian human rights activist and Jesuit priest, Father Cedric Prakash, S.j. by the City of Harvey in Illinois. The plaque presented to Fr. Prakash noted with appreciation Fr. Prakash’s “struggle and selfless service in the cause of justice and human rights in Gujarat, India.”

Fr. Cedric Prakash is the director of an organization called Prashant which is dedicated to human rights, justice and peace. Prashant is based in the city of Ahmedabad, which was the epicenter of the horrendous crimes against humanity that were perpetrated in Gujarat in 2002.

Father Cedric Prakash is the recipient of several awards and honors internationally including the French “Chevalier of the Legion of Honor,” and an award by the President of India for his work in promoting human rights and religious harmony.

At a special ceremony held at the City Council Chamber to felicitate the selfless advocate of human rights and champion of peace, Mayor Kellogg paid tribute to the decades of stellar service to humanity rendered by Fr. Prakash.

In his speech, the Mayor recalled the Gujarat pogrom, in which 2,000 people were brutally massacred and over 150,000 displaced, as one of the darkest chapters in Indian history. He reminded the audience however, that “the struggle for justice in the aftermath of the Gujarat carnage is a story of selfless service, of a relentless quest for peace and of undying love for humanity.” Mayor Kellogg added that Fr. Cedric Prakash is one of those rare individuals who symbolize these great qualities.

“Fr. Prakash’s work shows us that in the midst of appalling cruelty and terrible crimes against humanity, there exists compassion, selflessness and an inspiring conviction in the brotherhood of humanity,” Mayor Kellogg stated.

“I feel truly humbled by this award from the city of Harvey,” said Fr. Cedric Prakash. “I accept it as an acknowledgement of the reality of the Gujarat Genocide of 2002, which will remain forever, a monumental tragedy in the history of India. This award is also a reminder that none of us should be quiet until the cause of justice has been met,” added Fr. Prakash.

“The decision by the City of Harvey to honor Fr. Cedric Prakash, is a reminder that our common values of justice, compassion and protection of the weak and dispossessed transcend geographical distance and citizenship of a specific country,” said Shaheen Khateeb, President of IAMC.

The event was attended by 2nd ward Alderman Joseph Whittington, 4th ward Aldermen Michael Bowen and 5th Ward Aldermen Donald Nesbit.

– tcn

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