Puducherry

Well-known rights activist Balamohan dead

C.H. Balamohan

C.H. Balamohan

Well-known rights activist and civil society leader C.H. Balamohan, 74, who had been at the forefront of struggles for employee entitlements, environmental protection and better governance, died at the Cooperative Hospital in Vadakara, Kerala, on Sunday. He is survived by his wife and his son.

Mr. Balamohan, a native of Mahe, who began his fight for justice in his student days, when he demanded a separate toilet for girls at school, started his career in the Education Department.

He retired in 2008 as an Assistant in the Education Department with just two promotions in a 40-year-long career, and had to fight to restore his full retirement benefits, which were withheld as punishment for his activism.

Among the many roles he held were honorary president of the Confederation of Puducherry State Government Employees’ Associations and convenor of the Alliance for Good Governance, a collective of voluntary organisations and environmentalists. Describing his passing as shocking and a loss to the people of the Union Territory and the working class, the CPI(M) Puducherry unit said Mr. Balamohan, son of a freedom fighter who fought for the French-Indian liberation struggle, had engaged in struggles against injustices since his student days and till his last breath.

The CPI(M) noted that the leader was tortured by the police and imprisoned in 1975 for opposing the Emergency and later successfully led the all-India civil strike in Puducherry in 1982, courting arrest several times for his involvement in the rights struggle of civil servants.

He was also part of the agitation in 1979 against a proposal to merge Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, leading to his imprisonment in Cuddalore.

Sunaina Mandeen of PondyCan said Mr. Balamohan left behind a legacy that included many victories for the common man and Mother Nature. He was a key part of the first collective formed in 2007, the Puducherry People’s Protection Committee, which successfully fought against a port project, leading to a landmark National Green Tribunal order upholding coastal protection measures across the country.

Activists will continue to be inspired by his courage and resolve to always do good and give voice to the voiceless, she said.

His body will be brought to Puducherry for cremation on Monday.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2022 9:02:15 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/well-known-rights-activist-balamohan-dead/article65394473.ece