11/13/2013, 00.00
INDIA

Mother Teresa Award goes to Fr Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit who has fought for Gujarat Muslims

by Nirmala Carvalho
For the priest, the award dedicated to Mother Teresa "comes as a challenge that we transcend our own small world and reach out in more tangible ways to those who hunger and thirst for love, dignity and justice." He is the director of the Prashant Centre of Human Rights and Peace, and a defender of the victims of 2002 massacres.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The award is a reminder of Mother Teresa's legacy and "comes as a challenge that we transcend our own small world and reach out in more tangible ways to those who hunger and thirst for love, dignity and justice," said Fr Cedric Prakash, director at the Prashant Centre for Human Rights Justice and Peace in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) as he accepted the Mother Teresa International Award for Social Justice. This recognition "shows how much the world today needs the blessed and the work of the Missionaries of Charity," he told AsiaNews.

Fr Prakash has been involved for years in defending human rights in India. In particular, along with the Prashant Centre, he has helped the victims of sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat in 2002.

A friend of AsiaNews, the Jesuit is appreciated for his unconditional quest for justice, and fearless criticism of the actions of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been blamed for the massacres.

The Harmony Foundation, an association founded in 2005 to ensure that the legacy of Mother Teresa, upholds her legacy with a main annual award, plus a number of minor ones. This year, Sam Childers, an activist-biker who works with child soldiers, also received the award.

For Fr Cedric Prakash, Mother Teresa "Mother Teresa epitomised charity and compassion in the highest sense of the word." She "showed how to care for the unloved, the dying, the destitute, the widow, the orphan and the neglected in society.  [. . .] After her death, her sisters, the Missionaries of Charity, silently continue their selfless service, caring for the poorest of the poor and those living beyond the fringes of society."

This award, the Jesuit clergyman said, "is a recognition of the current situation, where the gap between rich and poor is widening ever more. And with it, social injustice grows."

This year the prize recognises "total compassion and unconditional reaching out to the poorest of the poor, the dying destitute, the unloved and the uncared of this world."

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