Four years after hundreds of Maruti workers were arrested, as the trial of Maruti workers approaches its final stage, the truth is getting exposed. Facts reveal that it is the capitalists and not the workers who are to blame.
In the last week of January 2017, various facts have been brought to light by the lawyer representing the accused workers . The case pertains to the death of a senior manager due to a fire that broke out on 18th July 2012 in the Maruti company office. The incidents occurred when workers were agitating to demand reinstatement of a worker who was unjustly expelled and talks were going on between representatives of Maruti Company and the workers. The workers were charged with rioting and arson, including causing the death of the manager who died in the fire.
Some facts highlighted by the lawyer defending the workers are worth noting.
On the day of the incident, the police were called but were kept waiting outside the company gate while the “bouncers” (goondas in workers uniform hired by the company) operated inside.
CCTV recordings covering the incident have not been made available by the company, claiming that the system was not working.
148 workers were picked up from their homes and arrested under various charges. FIR claimed that they were carrying weapons like “belcha, lathis and rods”, which were not present in Maruti compound. Later the prosecution claimed that they were carrying auto parts like door beams and shockers. The same were subsequently planted and recovered from workers’ homes by the police.
The public prosecutor has said that Haryana government is against granting of bail to the arrested workers. Many of arrested workers were not even present on the day of the incident but have been denied bail for 3 to 4 years. There are even cases of permanent workers against whom prosecution has not presented any evidence of wrong-doing but have not been granted bail.
Bulk of the arrested workers are temporary workers whose names were provided by four labour contractors. None of these contractors were able to identify any of the named workers. The arbitrariness of this is clear from the fact each of the contractor provided names within a definite range of letters of the English alphabets. This suggests that the names have been arbitrarily picked from selected pages of alphabetic list of workers with the contractor.
These facts reveal that the Maruti company owners and the Government of Haryana have been lying when they blamed the workers for rioting, arson and murder. The capitalist media has given wide publicity to the owners’ views and portrayed the workers as villains. The actual situation is very different. Workers are fighting for their rights. They are building and strengthening their fighting organisation. They are striving to build unity of all workers – regular employees, contract workers and apprentices. This is illustrated by the demands raised by the workers’ union for the rights of the temporary workers.
The owners are mortally afraid of the growing unity and organisation among the workers. They used the death of the manager to get the government to launch an all-out attack on the workers. Thousands of workers were thrown out of employment and hundreds were arrested on false charges. Union leaders have been threatened and hounded. Innocent workers have been jailed for years on end causing great hardship to their families.
It is entirely possible that setting fire to the room where the representatives of the workers and management were holding talks was organised by the owners themselves, to break the growing unity of the workers and criminalise their struggle.
It is inspiring to see that the workers have continued their resistance in spite of the extremely difficult situation created for them. They have formed a support group for the jailed workers that are providing various kinds of assistance to the victimised workers. Communist Ghadar Party of India hails the heroic struggle of the Maruti workers and demands that the full role of the capitalist owners and the government be investigated, the truth be made public and the real guilty be severely punished.