Port workers in India decline to handle shipment of weapons to Israel

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Days after it was revealed that drones built in India were being delivered to Tel Aviv, a trade union representing employees at eleven major Indian ports said that it would not handle shipments of weaponry to Israel in light of the continuing conflict in Gaza.

In a statement, the Water Transport Workers Federation of India stated that it has made the decision to “refuse to load or unload weaponised cargoes” from Israel or any other nation that might be in possession of military hardware for 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,” in a statement by the union.

Over 3,500 workers at 11 Indian government-owned ports are represented by the union.

“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,” the statement added.

After pledging to destroy Hamas in the wake of the terror attack on southern Israel on October 7, which claimed the lives of almost 1,200 Israelis and left hundreds of civilians captive, Israel proceeded with its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Health Ministry announced on Monday that over 29,000 Palestinians had died in the four months since the conflict began, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians had been driven to the verge of hunger, and a large portion of the civilian infrastructure in the Strip had been damaged.

The Water Transport Workers Federation of India’s general secretary, T Narendra Rao, declared in an interview with Middle East Eye that his organization will “boycott” handling of any ship transporting weapons, ammunition, or weaponized goods to Israel.

Since the union’s employees have not yet been involved in any weapons shipments to Israel since the start of the Gaza war, he claimed that the action is primarily symbolic at this point in order to show support for the Palestinian people.

The boycott follows a previous article in The Independent stating that an Indian clothing manufacturer halted new orders for Israeli police uniforms due to “humanitarian grounds.”

The trade union was motivated to conduct this action at a recent conference in Athens when several union leaders showed solidarity with Palestinians losing their lives in the conflict. The trade union is an affiliate of the World Federation of Trade Unions, a global body.

“We decided them that we would do our bit and not handle any weapon-laden cargo, which will go onto assist Israel to kill more women and children as we are seeing and reading every day in the news,” the union told The Wire, an Indian news website.

It happened a few days after it was revealed that the Israeli army had been using twenty Hermes 900 drones, manufactured in India, on the besieged strip.

The drones were delivered to Israel, according to a source at Adani Group, which operates 12 ports in multiple states, as reported by The Wire.

India is one of Tel Aviv’s worldwide friends that has advocated for a two-state solution to the conflict, but neither Israel nor India have formally acknowledged the arrangement.

Amidst a severe labor shortage during the conflict, India has also been aggressively seeking out and training migrant laborers to be deployed to Israel to replace Palestinian workers. Across India, recruitment campaigns are underway with the goal of finding 10,000–20,000 laborers for Israel in the upcoming months.


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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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