Indian activist on board Malaysian jet mourned in S Africa

Written by PTI | Johannesburg | Updated: Apr 12 2014, 23:47pm hrs
An Indian activist, who was on board the crashed Malaysian airliner and fought for South African subsistence fishermen, has been mourned by rights activists here.

Chandrika Sharma, considered to be a world leader in fishing rights activism, was among 239 people aboard the Beijing-bound Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 that on March 8 mysteriously disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

Sharma, 51, is being mourned by South African fishing rights activists as she befriended subsistence fishermen from the South African coastal areas when she was an Indian representative to the World Summit on Sustainable Development here in 2002.

Since then, she played a major role in the development of local small-scale fisheries, said Naseegh Jaffer, director of the Masifundise Development Trust and coordinator of the World Forum of Fisher People.

Sharma and Jaffer also worked together for the past four years on developing international guidelines for small-scale fisheries for the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation.

Jaffer, however, remained hopeful that Sharma might still be alive.

But if she is indeed no longer alive, Jaffer hoped that the guidelines they together developed will be endorsed in her name when they are finalised in June this year.

Others who lauded Sharma for her assistance to South African fishermen included Solene Smith of the Langebaan small-scale fisheries organisation, who said that she would leave a legacy among the people that she taught and shared her ideas with.