New Delhi (Press Release): Today, 24th July 2013, the nine comrades in Kaithal District Jail, Haryana were released on bail after months of intense pressure by the movement and other solidarity efforts. Among them are Comrade Ramniwas, member of Provisional Working Committee, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, Com. Deepak, General Secretary of Hindustan Motors Sangrami Shramik Karmachari Union, Com. Somnath, correspondent of the workers’ newspaper, Shramik Shakti and Suresh Koth, local panchayat leader from Jind, Dr. Ashwini, doctor and local social activist and others. The fake cases on them which range from Section 307 (Attempt to Murder) and the Arms Act (possession of illegal weapons etc) foisted by the police to break the valiant demonstration by over 2000 people in Kaithal on 19th May 2013 will continue. However even in the space of these two months after these targeted political arrests, we have not been cowered down and carried on continuous struggle, and it is due to this that the powers-that-be have been forced to accede to the force of the truth of our struggle.
The next date for hearing after 19th July on the framing of charges for the 147 workers in Gurgaon Jail is on 27th July 2013 as their trail still has not started, and that is also the date when the last of the witnesses for the counter-case on the management will depose before the court.
Our primary demands of release of the 147 fellow workers who have been denied bail for more than one year now and the quashing of false cases against them and on 66 others who have non-bailable arrest warrants against their name, still remains. As Suzuki Motors Chairman, Mr. Osamu Suzuki visits India, we want to reiterate our second demand of reinstatement of all the terminated workers, and that the government stop acting with only in favour of the interests of the company and implement labor laws in the region.
We observe with alarm, the similarity in the recent statement on 18th July of MSIL Chairman R.C. Bhargava who said “Japanese investors are jittery over the situation of labour unrest in India because of what happened in Manesar”, and the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court’s verdict on 22nd May 2013 dismissing bail pleas of the arrested workers saying that “foreign investors are likely not to invest the money in India out of fear of labour unrest”. We appeal to all to keep vigil so that the government and justice-giving agencies are not influenced by the false propaganda and money-power of this highly exploitative company management.
On 18th July 2013, we marked one year of our continued struggle against one year of continuous repression by precisely pointing to this false propaganda which hold us responsible for the murder of the HR manager Awanish Dev without any due investigation. We gave statement and shouted slogans pointing to the real culprits behind the incident- the management’s exploitative practices and conspiracy supported and encouraged by the government-administration-police, and thus paid our tributes to the deceased. On the same day, 18th July 2013 inside the Maruti company in Manesar, ‘special lunch’ was arranged, and this is how they celebrated the incident of 18th July 2012 and the so-called improved relations among the workers and management, while production at present inside the plant is highly exploitative and under immense coercion.
On 18th July 2013, we assembled at Leisure Valley Park in Gurgaon and attempted to march to IMT Manesar in the morning, but were stopped at the site by the heavy deployment of the police, and a DC order of imposition of Sec 144 in the entire industrial belt of IMT Manesar, in Tau Devilal Park and NH-8 as well as in the Mini Secretariat in Gurgaon. The administration might say this is a special circumstance, but all workers in the belt know it for a fact that such coercion and repressive pro-activeness by the state to serve the interests of the companies and curb our democratic rights is a very normal everyday condition in the industrial region.
Around 2000 police personnel were present at the site itself where we assembled, and the mobilization of the police force in Manesar was over 10000 personnel armed with weapons, lathis, water cannons, tear gas vehicles creating a threatening atmosphere in the entire industrial belt. Many workers were physically stopped from joining our demonstration. Our own workers kept receiving threat calls from the CID against joining the protest. The entire Union body of Suzuki Motorcycles India Employees Union were detained in a police station in Kherki Daula village in Gurgaon by the SHO and their phones switched off, so that they could not join our struggle.
Even thus, we are heartened to receive support from workers and various trade unions in the area who are ready to take our issue as the common issue of workers in the entire industrial region and specially in the automobile sector. Besides Hero Motor Corp’s Union with its President Com. Bhim Rao, Suzuki Powertrain India Employees Union with its terminated President Sube Singh and the entire Union bodies of Rico Auto Dharuhera, Nerolac Bawal, IJL Rewari, NSK and unions from many other companies in the area joined in our support. Besides these, we received support from local and central trade union and workers bodies like CITU, ICTU, AICCTU, Jan Sangharsh Manch Haryana, Hindustan Motors SSK Union, SSC, Bluestar Employees Union, NTUI, Inqlabi Mazdoor Kendra, Mazdoor Kranti Parishad, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, AIFTU(New), IFTU and many others, and students and other groups like PUDR, KNS, AISA, NBS, DSU, NSI, Pratidhwani, Janrang and many other individuals from across the country from Mumbai and Bengal, and especially from nearby Delhi. Simultaneous demonstrations and programs were organized and messages of solidarity came from Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Bhillai, Hyderabad and many other places by various workers groups, trade unions and other mass organizations. We express our gratitude and resolve to continue with this common struggle of workers.
On 25th July 2013, there is a joint rally of all Trade Unions in Gurgaon-Manesar in front of Mini Secretariat, Gurgaon where the first demand pertains to the release of arrested workers and reinstatement of terminated workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar besides demands of other workers facing exploitation and repression in their factories. We appeal to all to join the rally.
We have declared our intent of holding our next program in Manesar and have sent letters of intimation to the DC and other relevant authorities for the same. We shall take ahead our struggle in the coming days with renewed energy and not be cowered by the repression and exploitation.
Issued by Provisional Working Committee, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union on 24th July 13