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India’s port workers’ union refuses to load ships carrying weapons to Israel

February 20, 2024 at 7:17 pm

An Indian National Flag waves in New Delhi, India on September 05, 2021 [Amarjeet Kumar Singh – Anadolu Agency]

A trade union representing employees at 11 major Indian ports has announced its refusal to handle shipments containing weapons for Israel during the ongoing war against the Gaza Strip.

This decision follows recent reports of Indian-manufactured drones being transported to Tel Aviv.

The Water Transport Workers Federation of India (WTWFI) issued a statement on 14 February declaring their stance to “refuse to load or unload weaponised cargoes” from Israel or any other country involved in the “war in Palestine”.

“We, the Port workers, part of labour unions, would always stand against the war and killing of innocent people like women and children,” a statement by the Union said. “Women and children have been blown to pieces in the war. Parents were unable to recognise their children killed in bombings that were exploding everywhere,” it added.

The Union, comprising over 3,500 employees at 11 government-owned ports in India, called for an “immediate ceasefire”, while adding, “Loading and unloading these weapons helps provide organisations with the ability to kill innocent people.”

Moreover, WTWFI’s General Secretary, Narendra Rao, affirmed that the resolution aligns with the World Federation of Trade Unions and the collective choice was made during a meeting with international trade unions in Athens at the onset of the war.

Rao stated, “We decided then that we would do our bit and not handle any weapon-laden cargo, which will go on to assist Israel to kill more women and children as we are seeing and reading every day in the news.”

He said the statement was issued ‘to express solidarity with Palestine’.

Since 7 October, Israel has been waging a devastating war on the Gaza Strip, resulting in tens of thousands of casualties, most of whom are children and women, in addition to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe and a noticeable deterioration in infrastructure and properties, according to Palestinian and international data. This has led to Israel facing charges of violations of the Genocide Convention before the International Court of Justice.

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