A tribute to an unsung hero and an unrewarded martyr

It was International Men’s day of 2005 when Mr. Shanmugam Manjunath sacrificed his life for this country.

Let us know who Manjunath was?

Manjunath was just like you and me. He was a son, a brother and a professional like anyone around us. Manjunath was a popular student, noted for his passion for music, sincerity and integrity.

He completed his engineering from JSS Engineering College, Mysore, and an MBA from IIM, Lucknow (2003 batch alumnus). As a manager with the Indian Oil Corporation, he ordered the shutdown of an IOC petrol pump in Lakhimpur Kheri (UP)—where he was posted—for allegedly selling adulterated fuel. Over the past three months, Manjunath had shut down two IOC dealer petrol pumps in Lakhimpur for selling adulterated fuel.

November 19, 2005 – the fateful night…

On November 19, 2005, evening, Manjunath was beaten up and then riddled with at least six bullets. His body was found in the backseat of his own car. Manju was shot and killed in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, by a dealer of Indian Oil Corporation – the company he worked for. His only “fault” was that he did his duty: he would not accept bribes for turning a blind eye to the adulteration of fuel being carried out by the dealer.

Government Inaction forced his friends to take charge of situation!

Seeing the inaction of government, his true friends came forward and registered a trust by name of “The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust”. It was registered on Feb 23rd, 2006. It is an international IIM alumni initiative; and works to improve governance in Indian public life.

His friends worked relentlessly to ensure quick justice in the case and the trial was completed in a record nine months. All eight accused were found guilty. The main accused – the petrol pump owner – was given the death penalty. The others were given life imprisonment.

His friends who formed “The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust” got in touch with noted a NGO Parivartan whose founder and IIT-Kharagpur alumnus Mr. Arvind Kejriwal won the 2006 Magsasay award (emerging leader category) for launching first National RTI Helpline number. This first national RTI helpline number was launched on November 19, 2006 (International Men’s Day), the first death anniversary of Manju. Unfortunately, after good work for 1 year; the first helpline number is closed due to poor response.

 His friends at “The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust” have instituted the Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award to honor and encourage person/s or institutions like Manju; who are working to uphold the values of truth and honesty in Indian corporate, government or public life. The award carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs. One Lakh. The first award was presented to Prof. R.P Singh, (then) Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University, for his sterling work in cleaning up the University. It was presented on 24th March 2007, by N.R Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor, Infosys Ltd.

 What Government of India did for Manjunath and people like him!

Literally speaking government of India has done nothing for Manjunath and people like him. It would have not been possible to give justice to Manju if his friends not taken charge of situation at that time. We have seen hue and cry of Indian government and machinery on recent rape allegations (nobody knows whether these allegations are true or false) at Goa but doing nothing for men who die for this country.

I am sure no one has forgotten Mr. Satyendra Dubey (IIT-Kanpur), who was also killed like Manju for his fight against corruption. I am surprised to know that even today (more than 3 years passed) the accused are not arrested. I can understand how it will be possible to arrest real killers if whole police is busy in ensuring arrest of more than 1, 20, 000 women to break previous 5 year plan.

Indian Government is always busy in providing concession to feminists backed bills/legislations and not recognizing the conditions in which men work in India. It is the men who do all the dangerous work and put their life at risk for family and country. Indian Government simply wants men to pay taxes and keep mum. They do not want the men to express their feeling and ask for welfare. The Government does not want to provide any communication channel to men and yet when confronted about large scale suicides of men, it simply ridicules them by saying, those men are weak, irresponsible and do not communicate.

Manju has got nothing for his fight against corruption. It would a true tribute for Manju and to the people like him if government of India recognizes “International Men’s Day” and announce ministry for men welfare as a real tribute to Manju.

If the government of India chooses to remain mum then Save Indian Family Foundation at Bangalore salutes, gives tribute and dedicates International Men’s day to Manju, as it was November 19 only when he sacrificed his life for the country that have a ministry for animals but not for the men like him.

Save Indian Family Foundation at Bangalore also understands that the Loss of this son (Manju) to his mother is not any less than a mother who loses her daughter.

We dedicate International Men’s day to you, Manju!

 

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