‘Durbar’ Marks May Day
Durbar Mahila Samanyaya Committee (DMSC), Kolkata observed International Workers’ Day on 30th April. International Workers' Day or Labour Day is a celebration of labourers worldwide promoted by the international labour movement and observed every year on 1st May or the first Monday in May. DMSC has been observing this auspicious day for the last 29 years for the recognition of sex workers’ rights. They have chosen April 30 to mark May Day as a protest as their long-standing demand to be recognized as a worker as per law is yet to be met.

Ms Bishakha Laskar, secretary DMSC addressed the occasion. The programme was organized by Durbar Abinashi clinic at Abinash Kabiraj Street, Sonagachi, Kolkata. The sex workers of Sonagachi have come a long way with the direct inspiration and guidance of the Durbar Mahila Samanayaya Committee. Nowadays unwilling adult women and minor girls are not allowed in this profession. At present only willing ladies give their physical labour for some time to entertain the customers to earn money to run their families. They don't have any security. So Durbar Mahila Samanyaya Committee is vocal about their social security and they demand that there should not be any police harassment or criminal case against consensual sex between the sex worker and the customer. The organization is also demanding that there should be an anti-trafficking bill in which their opinion should be taken into account and the organization should get recognition in this regard.

People from different walks of life, especially from the rights groups, trade union groups, and lawyers attended the meeting and they were supportive of their demand. Shatabdi Das of Jadavpur University mentioned the wage as it is the most important factor in workers’ lives. Mrs Rama Debnath, one of the senior members of Durbar's movement pointed out the Supreme Court’s verdict about sex workers’ rights. She explained how DMSC is currently working with several groups of unorganized labourers. In truth, sex workers too belong to the category of unorganised workers. Durbar's cultural wing 'Komol Gandhar ' performed a dance drama 'Ami sei meye’ in tune with the spirit of May Day.
Dipa Joardar, Kolkata

Methane Bomb
My name is Hussein, and my 21-year-old boy Ali is dead due to toxic gas flaring on BP oil fields in Iraq.

Gas flaring releases cancer-causing fumes like benzene that trigger a slow, painful death for innocent people and it emits tonnes of methane, heating the planet Earth.

I just told BP I'm going to sue them if they don’t stop gas flaring–and if people all across the world join my call, we can turn this into a perfect storm to make BP fear for their reputation.
Will you help me stop this methane bomb and save other children like Ali?
Hussein Julood
Hameed Almuaardha
with the Avaaz team

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Vol 56, No. 48, May 26 - Jun 1, 2024