The Water Transport Workers Federation of India, which represents 3,500 workers across 11 key Indian ports, has said it will not handle weapons shipments to Israel that could be used in its war on Gaza.

“We the port workers, part of labour unions, would always stand against the war and killing innocent people like women and children,” T Narendra Rao, the union’s general secretary, said in the letter dated February 14. “Women and children have been blown to pieces in the war. Parents were unable to recognise their children killed in bombings which were exploding everywhere.”

The war, which started after Palestinian militant organisation Hamas’ incursion into southern Israel, has continued for more than four months. Hamas had killed 1,200 people in the attack and taken more than 200 persons hostage. Some of them were released in November as part of a brief ceasefire agreement in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and humanitarian aid.

On Sunday, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said that nearly 29,000 Palestinians have been killed and 68,883 have been injured in Israel’s relentless attack, resulting in a humanitarian crisis in the territory, Al Jazeera reported.

The International Court of Justice in January ruled that Israel must take immediate steps to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza.

The port workers’ union said in the letter that its members have “collectively decided to refuse handling all types of weaponised cargoes”. “Loading and unloading these weapons helps provide organisations with the ability to kill innocent people,” the letter said.

It added: “Therefore, we, the Indian Port & Dock Workers from various major ports active in the ground of cargo handling sector, call on our members to no longer handle any ships which carry military material to Palestine/Israel.”

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