One year since the state oppression of Maruti-Suzuki workers

It will be one year, on July 18th 2013, since the Maruti-Suzuki Workers’ Union sat on a hunger strike in Manesar to protest against “State oppression of workers”. Running up to that date, the workers will be demonstrating in 10 districts of Haryana.

It will be one year, on July 18th 2013, since the Maruti-Suzuki Workers’ Union sat on a hunger strike in Manesar to protest against “State oppression of workers”. Running up to that date, the workers will be demonstrating in 10 districts of Haryana. The workers have been carrying on a militant struggle through several rallies, demonstrations, hunger strikes and campaigns for their demands, under the leadership of the Maruti-Suzuki Workers’ Union. These demands include the release of their jailed colleagues, taking them back to work and judicial enquiry into the death of Human Resource Manager, Avnish Kumar. Mazdoor Ekta Lehar has been reporting on this struggle.

It is a fact that the HR Manager Avnish Kumar died in an incident at the Manesar Plant of Maruti-Suzuki on 16th July 2012. For some time before this incident, the workers had been protesting in support of their right to organise themselves in a union of their choice. Both the Haryana state government and the management did everything they could to see that this union does not get formed. Using the 16th July incident as a pretext, the state government and the management instigated a campaign to suppress the workers’ struggle. Without any basis or proof, the entire range of state machinery – police, CID, administration, labour department, courts, etc was used to crush the workers.

Following this incident, on 18th July, 147 workers were shut up in Gurgaon’s jails and have been the victims of unceasing police brutality since then. A whole year is about to expire but till date the state government has not investigated the conspiracy which was the reason for the HR manager’s death. Till date, the workers have not been granted bail. The lower court and the High Court in Chandigarh rejected the bail applications of the workers on 22 May 2013. Sixty-six workers are facing threat of non-bailable arrest. Several of the jailed workers are seriously ill, but the jail administration has denied them the complete necessary treatment.

The state government has not stopped with this, but has turned the entire Manesar industrial area into a police camp. The state oppression has gone beyond even this. The workers had been demonstrating for 57 days in support of their demands, including a hunger strike for 8 days at the mini-secretariat in Industry Minister Randeep Hooda Surjawala’s Kaithal district. In order to break the demonstration planned for 19th May, the police arrested 96 workers the previous night on 18th May on the pretext that it is a violation of Section 144. The 19th May rally, in which the family members of the workers, sympathisers and trade unions were present, was brutally lathi charged by the police; ten workers and trade union activists have been denied bail and remain in jail till date.

It is clear from the entire incident that the state is oppressing the workers because they showed the courage to organise their own union against the Japanese management. These workers refused to accept that their voices be silenced by the management favoured union.

The Indian bourgeoisie is engaged in becoming a player on the world scale and is inviting the foreign capitalists to come and exploit our country’s resources and labour. They do not want any obstruction to this investment by the Indian and foreign capitalists. Both the central and state governments want this foreign capital. The government protects the interests of the Indian and foreign capitalists. This means, that it is fully prepared to suppress workers who will obstruct this.

Manmohan Singh, the representative of the bourgeoisie visited Japan in the last week of May, and invited Japanese capitalists to invest in India. He further promised them that the Indian government would assist them in safeguarding their investments and their profits.

It is not just the Congress Party’s Hooda government in Haryana that is so eager to implement the policy of assisting the capitalists and robbing the workers. The entire system is oriented to this policy and therefore it is anti-people, anti-peasant and anti-worker.

The working class must understand that the country can have only one or another policy – either in the interest of the bourgeoisie or in the interest of the workers. There cannot be some middle policy. To say that the two interests can be harmonised is to clearly conciliate with the bourgeoisie’s interests.

Mazdoor Ekta Lehar condemns the oppression of the militant Maruti-Suzuki workers and demands that they be released immediately from jail and those workers who have been dismissed must be reinstated.

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