Tag Archive for Gujarat trade union movement

Tribute to Mukul Sinha, Gujarat’s relentless human rights defender

Mukul-Sinha

Saluting comrade Mukul Sinha with resolve to continue our fight for justice and truth, to uphold the values of human rights, to stand up and speak-out for the oppressed against injustice of all kinds, unafraid of all consequences

By Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah

Comrade Mukul Sinha left us on 12 May 2014, just as the time when the state and political parties have declared war against people and people’s movements are struggling against the deceptive development model – now also known as Gujarat Model. For the past eight months he was suffering from lung cancer and undergoing treatment for the same.

In September 1973, Mukul joined the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) as research scholar for his PhD. While doing his research he also organized the PRL cafeteria employees. Reacting to injustice at the Institute, he started a union movement that invited termination of his job. Termination of his job from PRL proved a real benefit for the downtrodden masses. Later on he completed his legal training in 1989. He, along with other comrades formed a trade union ‘Gujarat Federation of Trade Unions’ and a human rights organisation ‘Jan Sangharsh Manch’ (JSM). He and his comrades also launched a political party the ‘New Socialist Movement’ (NSM).

In him we lost a comrade who was at the forefront of the legal and political battle against perpetrators of 2002 carnage, state encounters, deceptive development, communalism and fascism. Through his website, truthsofgujarat.com, this relentless fighter strived for establishing the truth of the Sabarmati Train incident and the carnage in 2002. As a lawyer and advocate he was involved in the Nanavati Commission, the other 2002 cases, fake encounter cases.

He with his dedicated team, was also at the forefront of the fight against the draconian POTA (Prevention of Terrorist Act) enacted by the NDA government.

Let us quote from one of his articles from Combat Law on the issue of labour where he rightly stated that “Globalisation is gobbling up labour laws and workers’ rights besides resources-land, water, mines and minerals. Courts are setting new precedents diluting the Constitution and thereby putting both democracy and people at a grave risk.” He was such a person, while arguing in the courts he never used to limit himself to the mere technicality but was able to articulate the people’s voice with ideological and philosophical input.

His death is a great loss to the working masses and especially for the many victim-survivors of 2002 carnage. His legal intervention in the Nanavati Commission was consistent and he gave a tough fight to Gujarat Sate and Modi’s Government in the commission with his dedicated team.

Even during his severe illness of last 8 months when he was unable to attend the court his presence could be felt in many cases through his fellow lawyers.

In the 1990s, amidst the pro-Narmada dam euphoria, built up by the then Chief Minister Chimanbhai Patel of Gujarat, unconditionally supported by many NGOs of Gujarat, Dr. Mukul Sinha and his team boldly stood with oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project.

He lived and fought against fascist and capitalist forces, our real tribute to comrade Mukul Sinha is not in mourning but in making a firm resolve to continue the struggle against such forces especially at the present time.

We activists while remembering his work took the pledge “We solemnly resolve to continue our fight for justice and truth, to uphold the values of human rights, to stand up and speak-out for the oppressed against injustice of all kinds, unafraid of all consequences.”

Red Salute, comrade Mukul Sinha.

Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah are Vadodara based activists