Gujarat’s distressed diamond workers now mull selling organs

February 16th, 2009 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Feb 16 (IANS) Hit hard by the economic meltdown, over 200,000 diamond workers in Gujrat’s Banaskantha district are living hand to mouth, having sold all their valuables and some are considering selling their organs in desperation, the head of the diamond workers union Monday said.

Over the weekend, two jobless diamond workers committed suicide in the district headquarters Palanpur, said Ashok Purohit, president of the Banaskantha Diamond Mazdoor Union.

Lilaji Manji, 34, consumed poison Saturday while Dalapatbhai Rawal threw himself in front of a speeding train near the Palanpur railway station Sunday.

“As many as two lakh (200,000) diamond workers are seriously affected due to the global meltdown and are living hand to mouth. Besides selling all they had, including their valuables, they are also considering selling organs of their bodies,” he said.

Last week Udaji Thakore, 35, of Aseda village in Deesa taluka was forcefully stopped from selling his kidney. He said none of the social workers or NGOs had come forward to help the families of jobless workers.

“I know that it would not be long before swarms of kidney agents would entice gullible workers in making them sell their organs as the workers have to somehow support their families,” Purohit said.

Purohit said nearly 250,000 diamond workers in Banaskantha district will boycott the BJP and the Congress in the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll and field their own candidate.

“We will ensure that 30 lakh (three million) diamond workers in Gujarat boycott the polls. An important announcement will be made in this regard in a couple of days,” he said.

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