An activist researcher based in Sri Lanka and a former director of Amnesty International in India, Vijay Nagaraj, 44, died in a car accident on Friday.
The local police said that Mr. Nagaraj was driving from Colombo to the eastern town of Batticaloa for a workshop. He met with the accident on early Friday morning in Polonnaruwa which is about 220 km northeast of Colombo. He was from Bengaluru and was an active participant in the campaign for the Right to Information Act in India, working with Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan in Rajasthan. He was working in the fields of international human rights in India and later he worked at Geneva, later he shifted to Colombo and was staying there since last five years.
Mr. Nagaraj, as a researcher in Sri Lanka worked with several non-governmental and research organizations which included International Centre for Ethnic Studies, the Centre for Poverty Analysis and the law and Society Trust, where he headed the research division.
As a writer, his writings mainly focused on host of issues ranging from land, housing, urban development to labor, hill country Tamils, gender and queer politics. He was an active participant in campaigns which mainly focused on making Economic, Social and Cultural rights justifiable.
The Law and Society Trust said Mr. Nagaraj had an enormous contribution in social justice and human right work in Sri Lanka. They said-“He worked across multiple issues and with different communities throughout the country. His tremendous courage, his critical eye, his emphasis and commitment to ensuring a human dimension to research and advocacy will be greatly missed.”