Page last updated at 06:42 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 07:42 UK

Indians win 'alternative Nobel'

Krishnammal Jagannathan
Krishnammal Jagannathan works with the low-caste Dalits

An Indian couple and their organisation have won a prestigious international award for their efforts to promote social justice in Tamil Nadu state.

Sankaralingam Jagannathan and his wife Krishnammal are among the five winners of the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the "alternative Nobel prize".

The two run an organisation called Land for the Tillers' Freedom.

The group works to improve the social status of India's Dalit people, also known as the untouchables.

The judges praised their work for empowering India's rural poor, by helping redistribute land to the landless.

The couple will share the prize money of 2m kronor ($290,000; 163,000) with a Somali women's rights activist, a German gynaecologist who helps sexually abused woman and an American independent journalist.

The award was founded by the Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull in 1980 to recognise work he felt was being ignored by the Nobel Prizes.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the Swedish Parliament on 8 December, two days before the Nobel Prizes are handed out.

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