Lecture on Rights based Approach to Social Movements

St Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru organized Fr Claude D’Souza and Fr Ambrose Pinto Memorial Public Lecture on ‘Right based Approach to Social Movements’ on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 in LCRI Hall. Eminent RTI activist, Aruna Roy was the Speaker for the programme.

Rev. Fr Dionysius Vaz, SJ, Rector, St Aloysius Institutions, Rev. Dr Praveen Martis, SJ, Principal, Mr Joselyn Lobo, School of Social Work, Rev. Fr Francis Guntipally, Mr Nikhil Day and Ms Shwetha Rasquinha, the Convenor were on the dais.

Addressing the gathering, RTI activist Aruna Roy, said, "Three years ago, when we visited Rajasthan, there was severe drought and we were struggling. The government response to the problems faced by people was very poor.” She made an interesting note that the affected people put our priorities straight. The demand from the people was not for food or water but for employment. “With the help of our organisation, we had to fight for justice in providing employment for the people.” She also said that inequality is multidimensional as there are many intersections. “We need to unite everyone and start fighting for our rights. Multiple tools are needed to correct inequality.” Article 19 deals with the freedom of expression, is the genesis of RTI. Democratic process does not end after we cast our vote. It is a long journey. “We send our representatives and it is our responsibility to ask them questions. The promises which galore in election manifestoes are many a times not kept. Who is going to monitor the fulfilment of the promises?” she asked.
Further she said, “The overnight decision of demonetization affected several people. The decision, which needs to be arrived at after a prolonged discussion with all stakeholders, seemed to lack even a semblance of such a process. RTI enables us to ask questions. Voices of dissent are not heard. However, it takes less time to liken the people who raise their voice to traitors and anti nationals. We need to remember we are in a process of building democracy by people’s participation to create a better India,” said Aruna Roy.
“There are over 60 lac RTI users. It is legitimate to ask questions and this is the foundation of democracy. There was a time when debate on MNREGA and RTI was taking place. But today we can only see what Ambanis and Adanis do. Unfortunately when truth is questioned, the power does not listen to you or it imprisons you. Legislature is using legislative muscle power and bringing out laws without any debate,” Roy said.

Conveners, Fr Francis Guntipilly and Prof Joselyn Lobo gave brief profiles of Fr Ambrose Pinto and Fr Claude D Souza respectively.

Principal, Dr Praveen Martis, SJ, welcomed the gathering. Shwetha Rasquinha proposed the vote of thanks and Arathi Shanbhag compered the event.