13 June 2014 – The following sad message has been received from Abdulgani Serang, general secretary-cum-treasurer of the National Union of Seafarers of India:
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you about the passing away of NUSI President Dr Shanti Patel, who passed away this morning at around 5 AM. He was 93.
Dr Shanti Patel, veteran freedom fighter, was a champion of the cause of the workers’ movement nationally and internationally. He always stood strongly behind workers and particularly seafarers. He was President of NUSI for more than 40 years.
Under his guidance, NUSI reached great heights in terms of safeguarding the interest of seafarers and played a positive role in the development of the Indian shipping fraternity.
On behalf of the NUSI executive committee and thousands of Indian seafarers and well wishers from the Indian shipping fraternity, I offer my deep condolences to his family members to bear this great loss.
ITF Asia/Pacific regional secretary Mahendra Sharma added:
Dr Shanti Patel was a multi-faceted personality.
A qualified medical doctor by training, he was a freedom fighter and senior trade union leader who was associated with Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), a prominent Indian trade union national centre, right from its inception (1948), and later held the posts of general secretary and president.
He was a former member of parliament and ex-mayor of Mumbai.
He was associated with unions in the port, shipping, steel, metal and engineering sectors. Dr Patel was a very skilled negotiator and found ways to break a deadlock during many strikes.