Guwahati, Sunday, October 13, 2019
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Pabindra Sarma, Kunjabala Devi awards presented
Staff Reporter

Award winners Chandan Jyoti Borah (third left) and Diganta Sarma (second right) pose with social activist Agnes Khashiing (centre) and retired bureaucrat Himangshu Sekhar Das (third right) and other dignitaries at the award ceremony in Guwahati on Saturday. – AT Photo
 GUWAHATI, Oct 12 - “My work has focused on unraveling the modes and mechanisms by which the state and certain non-state actors have often misused their power and position in order to exploit the weaker sections of the society,” said social activist of Meghalaya Agnes Kharshiing while delivering her speech as the guest of honour at the Pabindra Nath Sarma and Kunjabala Devi Memorial Awards ceremony here today.

Sharing her experiences, Kharshiing reckoned that most of the perpetrators, responsible for various crimes, are very close to those who are in power. She also said that after 1990s many changes were made in the government machinery only to suit the interest of the powerful lot.

“I have learnt a lot in the process of activism and would like to thank those who had attempted to put hindrance in my pursuit for justice,” she added.

The Pabindra Nath Sarma Memorial Award for investigative reporting on human rights issues was bagged by Diganta Sarma, Staff Reporter of Assamese weekly Sadin.

The Kunjabala Devi Memorial Award for investigative reporting on women issues was bagged by Chandan Jyoti Borah, the Nagaon Correspondent of Dainik Asam.

Sarma bagged the award for his investigative report on illegal coal trade and use of child labour in the coal mine at Ledo in Tinsukia district. On the other hand, Chandan Jyoti Borah was chosen for his reporting on crime against women.

Both Borah and Sarma, while receiving their respective awards, vowed to continue to work for the voiceless of the society through their reports.

Attending the award function as the chief guest, Chief Information Commissioner of Assam Himangshu Sekhar Das said that in Assam there is an urgent need to create mass awareness about the Right to Information Act.

Citing the RTI Act as a step to increase accountability and transparency in both private and public machinery, he pointed out that for the purpose of doing investigative reporting, the RTI Act is an important tool for a media-person.

Editor of Asam Bani Dileep Chandan, who presided over the award ceremony, thanked the organiser for continuing the award for the past many years. He also asserted that such awards played a key role in promoting healthy journalism in the society.

The award function was attended by a host of dignitaries, including Editor of The Assam Tribune Prafulla Govinda Baruah, Executive Editor of The Assam Tribune Prasanta Jyoti Barua and family members of late Pabindra Nath Sarma and late Kunjabala Devi.

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