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Bengal should protect fishermen’s rights: Mahasweta Devi

Writer and activist Mahasweta Devi Saturday urged West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee-led government to ensure that the rights of fishermen are preserved and that they are provided at least nominal healthcare facilities.

“Preservation of environment is the biggest struggle right now in front of the whole world. The struggles of the fishermen are synonymous with the struggle for the preservation of the environment,” the Magsaysay Award winner told a media meet here.

“I am very much alive to the fishermen’s demands. I have known the representatives of this movement for long,” she said.

The Dakshin Banga Matsyajibi Forum (DBMF) held the press conference at Mahasweta Devi’s residence and released a eight-point demand charter, threatening to launch a struggle if their demands are not met.

DBMF stressed on immediate restoration of seasonal fish drying rights on Jambudwip island on Hoogly river, and fisherman’s rights in the waters of Sunderbans, besides implementation of West Bengal Marine Fishing Regulation Act.

Mahasweta Devi also called upon fishermen to educate their families about their rights.

“The families of the fishermen should be educated about their rights. Health facilities are extremely important. They have to take up continuous struggle for their rights. I will take their matter to the government and appeal to (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee to accept their demands,” she said.

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