Stop the Police Brutality Against Maruti Suzuki Workers: Kaithal, 19 May 2013: The Haryana Government yet again in a brazen and outright cowardly manner has sought to protect the interest of capital and particularly the management of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd by refusing to allow the victimised workers and their families to undertake a peaceful demonstration planned for today which was expected to draw in ten thousand people from across the state.
A short while ago, police lathicharged a peaceful demonstration of workers families outside the residence of State Industry Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala. Scores have been hurt in the lathicharge and the demonstrators are being arrested.
The Haryana Government, on the eve of this peaceful protest at Kaithal, imposed IPC Section 144 in the town and arrested close to 100 workers and their family members from the dharna site at the Kaithal Mini Secretariat at 11:30 pm last night. Several more were picked up from the entry points to the town including the bus terminus this morning. The workers and their family members have been sitting on an entirely peaceful dharna at the Mini Secretariat from 28 April 2013 demanding release of the 147 workers in Gurgaon Jail and reinstatement of the workers, both permanent and contract, terminated without enquiry following the 18 July incident. Despite the heavy police mobilisation and barricades at entry points of the town, thousands of people from across Haryana have been pouring into the city to gherao the State Industries Minister, Randeep Singh Surjewala at his residence. Wives, mothers and sisters of workers are present in large numbers at this demonstration demanding a just inquiry and an end to the state effort at criminalisation of the workers.
Officers at Kaithal Civil Lines Police Station and at the Office of the Superintendent of Police refused to provide copy of the FIR or even provide details about the arrests since last night to us or even to the advocate of the workers and their families. They even refused to mention under what charges the arrests had been made and where the workers and others who were arrested were detained.
There were two other large demonstrations in Kaithal today – one to celebrate Parshuram Jayanti organised by the Brahmin Samaj addressed by the Haryana Industries Minister, Surjewala and another of the Haryana Janhit Congress. So, the imposition of Section 144 IPC was clearly aimed at denying the Maruti Suzuki workers and their families their democratic right to peaceful protest. The large police mobilisation with tear gas and water cannons was only aimed at the Maruti Suzuki workers.
84 Sarpanches from across Haryana had extended their support to the Maruti Suzuki workers struggle at the last demonstration of the workers at Kaithal on 8 May 2013. The Haryana Government has stopped the funds to these Panchayats. Thus it is using both brute force and its fiscal powers to obliterate the struggle of the workers and put down the solidarity and support mobilised by the Sarpanches across the state. Elected representatives of the people are refusing to talk to citizens in their attempt to protect the interest of capital.
We continue to stand in solidarity with the struggle of the members of Maruti Suzuki Workers Union and their demand for a fair inquiry, release of the arrested workers and reinstatement of the workers terminated after the 18 July 2012 incident. This struggle against capital and the complicit state is a critical turning point in upholding democratic rights of the working class.
We support the demands of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union:
1. The Haryana Government must immediately stop the assault on the workers of Maruti -Suzuki.
2. The Haryana Government must immediately order an enquiry into the events at Kaithal in the last 24 hours.
3. Government of Haryana should withdraw all charges and release all Maruti Suzuki workers and their family members arrested at Kaithal in the last 24 hours.
4. Government of Haryana should not oppose the bail application of the 147 workers in Gurgaon jail following the 18 July incident.
5. MSIL must reinstate all permanent workers who were summarily dismissed after the 18 July incident and regularise all contract workers who were on the rolls of the Company on 18 July 2012.
6. MSIL must negotiate in good faith with the MSWU.
Association for Democratic Rights, Punjab
People’s Union of Civil Rights, Kaithal, Haryana
Kulbir Singh and Ranjana Padhi
Peoples Union for Democratic Rights
New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)