PUDR strongly condemns the strong arm tactics of the Haryana police in attempting to disrupt the 48-hour hunger strike that began yesterday, November 7, in front of the DC Office, Gurgaon. In an impressive show of solidarity and joint action, over 150 workers in jail custody, all workers inside the Manesar plant and over 500 workers outside the DC Office, Gurgaon are on hunger strike right now. Many local workers’ unions are in support of the struggle of MSWU.
Barely had the programme started when the police descended on the spot yesterday morning, tore down the tent of the workers and picked up 29 workers from the spot, including one of the main organizers. The workers were taken to the Bhondsi police station. Members of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) and workers’ unions of Gurgaon and some journalists followed up and pressure was mounted on the police until 27 workers were released. However, two workers named Ram Niwas and Om Prakash, were kept under illegal detention. They were taken to Sector 46, CIA, police station.
As the PUDR team began inquiring after 5pm, it was revealed that the workers had been shifted to the Sector 10, CIA police station. A Tata Sumo vehicle with some people in it left the premises as we entered the police station. However, the Inspector, Mr Sanjeev Bhullara, categorically denied any Maruti workers having been brought there and directed us to the Sector 10 A police station and then very soon assured that the workers will be released within a couple of hours. PUDR expressed its concern for their total safety, no torture and immediate return.
According to the two workers who were released around 9pm and 10 pm, respectively, they were able to see the PUDR team from the vehicle that left the premises of the Sector 10, CIA, police station. They were taken to a lane in the residential area and kept in the vehicle for one and a half hours and then sent to the Sector 10-A police station. It is outrageous but no longer shocking that once again the Haryana police used pressure tactics on these two workers urging them to leave the union and assuring that their termination would be revoked and the two could join work. And that the matter can be looked into by minsters and the Chief Minister himself. Worse still, the police threatened them that their fate would be the same as a person being beaten inside whose loud screams filled the air. The entry of corporations and multinationals in the absence of any semblance of protection for workers’ rights makes the working class vulnerable to the violence and illegal actions of the state machinery and capital today that we need to collectively resist.
The operations of the Maruti Suzuki India Ltd management through the police and administration of the state make it clear how uphill it is for the MSWU to negotiate for the revoking of the illegal termination of over 500 workers and a fair and unbiased enquiry into the incidents of July 18. The management with the help of the police and the administration is hell bent upon breaking down of the political right of the workers to unionize and bargain collectively. Undeterred by the police action, the hunger strike resumed and continues now.
PUDR supports the struggle of the workers by demanding:
- An independent and unbiased judicial enquiry to be initiated into the events that led to the death of the manager Awanish Dev. The judge nominated should be someone both parties are agreeable to.
- Release of all arrested workers. Reinstatement of all terminated workers.
- End of police pressure and coercion on workers in jail custody, inside the plant and outside- and their families too.
- Upholding of workers’ basic political right and democratic right to organize and struggle for their just demands!
Paramjeet Singh and Preeti Chauhan