Repression Unleashed on our Struggle.. . Fight will Continue. .
MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION
Reg. No. 1923
PRESS RELEASE: 20th May 2013
We are facing one of the most brutal repression by the government on our movement. While we have adopted the democratic and peaceful means available to demand the release of arrested 147 workers, withdrawal of non-bailable arrest warrants from 66 workers and reinstatement of terminated 546 permanent and 1800 contract workers, the government has only responded with force and malice and in collusion with the Maruti Suzuki company management.
Our peaceful dharna has been going on since 24th March, which included hunger strike, deputations, rallies, which are all in the ambit of our democratic right guaranteed in the Constitution. This was forcibly broken on 18th May by the huge police force of thousands of personnel in riot gear, tear gas etc. They came in before curfew under Sec.144 was declared on the entire town of Kaithal at 5pm with effect till midnight of 19th May to prevent our call for a protest demonstration on 19th May in front of the residence of Haryana Industries and Commerce Minister, Randip Singh Surjewala. Thousands of people from across Haryana and other pro-worker people from across the country were to come to express solidarity.
At 11.30pm on 18th May those on the site of the dharna, 96 workers and activists were arrested and sent to Kaithal Jail under Sections 188, 341, 506, 511. This includes a member of the Provisional Working Committee, MSWU, Yogesh Gawande, and two Trade Union activists who have been coming in support, Shyamveer who is a correspondent of the workers newspaper, Nagrik and an activist with Inqlabi Mazdoor Kendra, and Amit and who is a workers’ movement activist and current Phd student in Economics dept, CESP, JNU, New Delhi. On the morning of 19th May, 4 more workers were arrested from their homes in the villages nearby.
On 19th May 2013, we decided to go ahead with our pre-declared program, and around 1500 people started coming in solidarity from across Haryana in the morning. These included primarily workers and our family members and relatives, and people from village Panchayats, democratic and mass organizations and individuals. A huge police force and CID Haryana personnel were all over the Bus Station, Railway Station and all points in the town to follow and stop anyone who was coming for support. We gathered near Pyoda village 2km from the city limits, and started to peacefully march to register our protest, that all those arrested on 18th May night be released immediately so that talks can happen. Barricades and a huge police contingent of over 2000 personnel with water cannons and tear gas vehicles, stopped us on the road next to Surjewala’s residence.
At 6.30pm, without any warning, the stationed police force started a brutal lathi-charge and tear gas and water cannons were unleashed mercilessly on the protestors, which included in large majority, women, children and old men. Hundreds were seriously injured and admitted to the hospital. The police came with a second round of lathi-charge when people were still in a state of shock. The government has acted with malicious intention, and with a view to crush the struggle while all wanted to do was register our peaceful protest in front of our elected representatives, and yesterday’s actions and arrests shows this.
Eleven workers and activists were arrested on completely fabricated charges of serious nature. These are:
- Ramniwas of Provisional Working Committee, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union
- Deepak Bakshi who is General Secretary of Hindustan Motors-Sangrami Shramik Karamchari Union, Kolkata
- Somnath who is a correspondent of the workers newspaper, Shramik Shakti
- Suresh Koth, who is panchayat leader from Koth village, Hissar dist, Haryana
- and three more people, whose names are still unclear.
They have been charged under non-bailable Sections 148, 149, 188, 283, 332, 353, 186, 341, 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC, 3 of P/D, TPDA, 8NH for blocking the highway and 25 (54 and 59) of the Arms Act. They have been produced in the Kaithal Court today 20th May 2013 and sent to 14days of Judicial Custody. So 111 more workers and activists, who have continued with the movement even after repression since 18 July 2012 have now been arrested, taking the total of arrested workers and activists to 258, along with 66 non-bailable arrest warrants.
This is a serious pre-meditated assault on especially those of the active workers and activists who have stood in solidarity with us and to show us again as criminals only because we continue to protest against the wrongs that have been done to us for the last two years since 4th June 2011, and especially since 18th July 2012 when it became apparent that the government is openly siding with the company against workers and activists. This is the reward the government has again given us workers for asking for our rights, for demanding the right to organize and Unionize and for demanding the abolition of the contract workers system, and hence asking questions on its model of development.
We appeal to all workers, trade unions and workers organizations, democratic rights and civil rights organizations and mass organizations and democratic minded individuals and to come out in protest in this hour when we need all forms of solidarity. We reiterate our just demands of releasing all the arrested workers and activists and reinstatement of terminated workers.
Provisional Working Committee
Maruti Suzuki Workers Union