Padma Award be Considered for Sri Satyendra Dubey and Sri Manjunath Shanmugan: IRDS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I am indebted to Sri Sanjib Kunar Karmee for having helped me, by way of circulation, get the opportunity to go through what Sri Amitabh Thakur, President, Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS), Lucknow, has appealed to the Government of India, for posthumous national respect to two of the immortal sons of our Motherland, who have made supreme sacrifice in cause of the country.
I reproduce here below the most appropriate appeal of Sri Thakur for perusal of all esteemed visitors to these pages and for their unreserved support to the just cause.

Sri Satyendra Kumar Dubey

Sri Satyendra Kumar Dubey (1973 – 27 November 2003) was born at the village Shahpur, district Siwan, Bihar. A talented and dedicated boy he did his B Tech from the prestigious IIT Kanpur and M Tech from IT-BHU in 1996. He was selected for the Indian Engineering Service (IES) and in July 2002 he was employed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Here he exposed some serious financial irregularities. He discovered that the contracted firm, Larsen and Toubro had been subcontracting the actual work to smaller low-technology groups, controlled by the local mafia. His letters to his NHAI bosses exposing the corruption went unheeded and faced with possible high-level corruption within the NHAI, Sri Dubey wrote directly to then Prime Minister, detailing the financial and contractual irregularities there.

In August 2003 when he was transferred to Gaya where he again exposed large-scale flouting of NHAI rules regarding sub-contracting and quality control.

On November 27, 2003, when Sri Dubey returned from a journey to Gaya, he never reached home and was found dead by road side.
The CBI did the investigations but Mantu Kumar, prime accused, escaped from the court premises, leading to different kinds of allegations.

A Patna Court has convicted three accused persons including Mantu for the crime.

Sri Dubey’s murder drew several protests in India and abroad, including the media. Student and Alumni bodies of IITs took the lead in raising this issue. IIT Kanpur instituted an annual award, Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Award, to be given to an IIT alumnus for displaying highest professional integrity in upholding human values. Sri Dubey was recognised posthumously by several awards, which included those from Transparency International and All India Management Association.

Sri Manjunath Shanmugam

Sri Manjunath Shanmugam was born on February 23rd, 1978. After finishing his engineering from SJCE Mysore, Sri Manjunath went into the prestigious IIM Lucknow, and graduated from there in 2003. Instead of joining the big corporate firms for hefty pay, this idealist youth joined the Indian Oil during campus placements. Here he was posted as the sales officer in Lucknow to manage the Lakhimpur Khiri region of UP – a known hotbed of petroleum adulteration.

While working here, he had ordered two petrol pumps at Lakhimpur Kheri to be sealed for three months for selling adulterated fuel. When the pump started operating again a month later, Sri Manjunath decided to conduct a surprise raid around November 19, 2005.It was this act of his that irked the powerful patrol pump owner and that very night, he was shot dead in Gola Gokarannath town of Lakhimpur Kheri. His body, riddled with at least six bullets, was found in the backseat of his own car.

Following the murder, there was immense media spotlight on the case. The Alumni from IIM Lucknow and elsewhere in the shape of the Manjunath Shanmugam Trust took up the case with dogged determination. The main accused Monu Mittal (the petrol pump owner) and 7 accomplices were convicted of murder by Sessions judge, Lakhimpur Kheri. Monu was awarded death sentence, when the other seven accused were sentenced to life imprisonment.

In the aftermath of murder, the matter of adulteration in petrol and diesel was taken up by the Energy Coordination Committee chaired by the Prime Minister. Later the MS Trust started the Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award to honour those who have reported and worked to rectify systemic corruption.

From these brief introductions, we can easily see that these two bright young men (Sri Satyendra was 30 when he was murdered while Sri Manjunath was only 27 at the time of his death) got their life suddenly ended because of their commitment to fight against the system and because of their determination and inner urge to stick to their values and personal ideals. They were not being forced by their organization to adhere to these principles; on the contrary they often had to face difficulties because of their non-compromising views. Another thing common to both was that despite being respectively from IIT and IIM, they chose to join the Public sector which has traditionally been given lower importance by students of these Institutes. They both had a deep sense of commitment and an inner urge to do something for the society. It was this burning idealism that ultimately led to their untimely death.

Through their supreme sacrifice they gave a much needed impetus to the values they held so closely to their heart. Their sacrifice has not exactly gone in vain but they are now the symbol of hope, idealism, commitment and values for a society that clearly needs them in huge amounts. It is a fact that most of us are not able to follow these principles in our own lives, simply because we are not made of the mettle that these two people were constituted of. But then, just because we lack these virtues, it does not stop us in any way from appreciating such values which are the foundation stone of any truly enriched society.

The IRDS, like a whole spectrum of people acknowledges the great virtues and the huge contributions made by both Sri Satyendra Dubey and Sri Manjunath Shanmugan, who are now the heroes of the entire nation.

This being so, we sincerely feel that the Union government also recognizes this fact officially by bestowing these two heroes the honour they truly deserve.

One way of doing this could be to confer one of the Padma awards (Padma Bhushan or at least Padma Shree) to both Sri Dubey and Sri Manjunath posthumously, as has been done in many other instances.
Honouring them would be to honour their cherished ideas, ideals, principles, virtues and believes.

We have requested the concerned officials and authorities to consider this suggestion. At the same time, I also request you friends to carry forth this mission.

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