- Fishermen in Kerala had saved hundreds of people during the floods
- Shashi Tharoor said the fishermen deserve a Nobel Peace Prize
- They risked boats, their only source of income, to save lives, he said
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today made a pitch to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to consider the fishermen of Kerala for the honour in recognition of the bravery they have shown when floods devastated the southern state last year.
They carried their boats onto trucks to get to stranded people and braved the filthy, swirling waters before most other rescuers arrived. Hundreds of fishermen were then hailed as the heroes of the Kerala floods crisis.
"It was during the height of this tragedy that fishermen groups of Kerala, at great risk to their lives and potential damage to the boats that are the source of their livelihood, jumped into the fray to save their fellow citizens," Mr Tharoor said in his letter to the chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
"They took their boats inland, and with their expert knowledge of the local conditions, their participation in the ongoing relief operations proved to be a gamechanger, as not only were they able to pick up stranded personnel in their vicinity, but were also instrumental in guiding boats of other rescue teams amidst the swirling waters," Mr Tharoor said in the letter that he also tweeted. "Fishermen groups across the country represent some of the most socio-economically underdeveloped segments. Kerala's fishermen are no exception."
"In spite of these conditions, as their lifesaving service during the floods clearly demonstrated, there is an extraordinarily altruistic spirit that animates and drives these coastal warriors of the state..." the Congress parliamentarian from Thiruvananthapuram said.
My letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee nominating the fishermen of Kerala for this year's Peace Prize in recognition of their courageous service & sacrifice during the #KeralaFloods of 2018: pic.twitter.com/xtPLrTnQBT- Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 6, 2019
Union Minister KJ Alphons had also called the fishermen the "biggest heroes" of Kerala's disaster and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced a cash reward for each of them and a ceremony to pay tribute.
When the floods hit Kerala in August last year, hundreds of traditional wood and fibre boats left Kollam, a tourist destination on the Kerala coast, after appeals for help were made.
"They arrived like saviours. No local government officials came to us or gave us any warnings before that," Ravindran Achary, a 62-year-old head of a nine-member family, had told NDTV.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The committee has five members appointed by the Storting (Norwegian parliament). The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway, not in Stockholm, Sweden, where the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and the Economics Prize are awarded.