A Memorial Plaque was unveiled, on Saturday, in the context of the rebranding of the Anjalay Stadium, in Belle Vue Harel, to Anjalay Coopen Stadium. The event was in line with the commemoration of the 80th death anniversary of late Soondrun Pavattan, also known as Anjalay Coopen.
This ceremony was marked by the presence of the Vice-President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Marie Cyril Eddy Boissezon; the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth; the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, Minister of Tourism, Mr Louis Steven Obeegadoo; the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun; the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Recreation, Mr Jean Christophe Stephan Toussaint; the Minister of Arts and Cultural Heritage, Mr Avinash Teeluck; Ministers and Members of Parliament; as well as other personalities.
In his address, the Prime Minister recalled the tragedy that occurred on 27 September 1943, when the then colonial policemen opened fire on a group of labourers who had embarked on a strike in protest and late Anjalay Coopen and her three comrades, namely, Kistnasamy Moonesamy, Moonsamy Moonien and Marday Ponapen, were killed fighting for the rights and dignity of the working class movement.
According to Prime Minister Jugnauth, Anjalay Coopen represents an important historical figure, particularly for women, as she is an iconic symbol of the Mauritian people’s struggle for human rights, despite the fact that she was only 32 years old and was carrying a child at that time.
The Prime Minister also underlined the importance of respecting the religion, culture and tradition of each and every one, as these values were what kept our ancestors, including Anjalay Coopen, strong and determined to face the atrocities committed by the colonialists at that time. “The colonial power and its establishments were responsible for many of the atrocities committed against the workers, hence the imperativeness to connect with history in order to move forward,” Mr Jugnauth pointed out.
He went on to emphasise that the legacy and values that have been passed on to us by our ancestors must not be undermined, even with all the progress and developments that have been achieved. On this note, the Prime Minister reiterated Government’s commitment to do its part in ensuring that the history of our ancestors and major events are duly commemorated.
For his part, Minister Teeluck indicated that this rebranding has been done so as to honour the memory of the great woman that Anjalay Coopen was and to do justice to the history of our ancestors.
“She embodies courage and her way of laying down her life for her brothers and sisters will always be remembered,” the Minister remarked. Furthermore, he attested that the contribution of Anjalay Coopen towards the country will always be acknowledged and has gone down in history.
Minister Teeluck, stressing that Government has always put at the forefront the interests of workers, dwelt on initiatives taken in this regard. These include: the introduction of the Minimum Wage presently amounting to Rs 15,000; the introduction of the Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund and; the introduction of a Workers’ Rights Act.