Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Brutal repression of workers in Gorakhpur, para-military forces and police assault and arrest workers going for peaceful 'Mazdoor Satyagrah'
No trace of women workers, a labour leader and a girl student
Over 200 workers begin fast in protest at the town hall amid heavy presence of police and PAC
Skirmishes with police continue throughout the day, police and PAC take positions all over the city.
Severe condemnation from jurists, civil rights activists, political parties, writers
Mazdoor Satyagrahi teams will reach Gorakhpur from Delhi, Punjab and
Gorakhpur, 9 May – A new black chapter was added in the history of brutal repression of workers in Uttar Pradesh as the police action unleashed by the district administration to crush the peaceful 'Mazdoor Satyagrah' beginning from today to demand justice for the 3 May incident on firing on workers resembled action by the colonial police.
As soon as the workers assembled in the FCI ground near the Bargadwa industrial area to proceed towards the divisional commissioner's office for the Mazdoor Satyagrah announced four days prior, they were charged with canes and water cannons by the police and PAC and their leader Prashant was arrested. Despite repeated attacks the workers kept on trying to reach the collectorate peacefully but throughout the day the police resorted to beatings and chased wherever they saw 10-12 workers together. Even workers going by public transport were stopped and beaten or threatened.
Still, more than 200 workers managed to reach the district collectorate which was already turned into a police camp. After dispersing the workers by lathicharging them, around 100 workers along with 30 women workers and a girl student accompanying them were taken into custody which are still untraced.
Sangeeta, the wife of Pappu Jaiswal who was critically injured in the May 3 firing had also reached the collectorate for the Satyagrah and lost consciousness during the police action. When there was no help from the administration, the workers somehow took her to the hospital.
Wherever the police see even a small group of workers they are stopped. Despite this 200 workers assembled at the Gandhi statue near Town Hall and have started a hunger strike as part of the Mazdoor Satyagrah. A heavy contingent of police and PAC are surrounding them and are threatening to arrest. New teams of workers are trying to reach there and skirmishes with the police are continuing in several parts of the city.
This incident has attracted widespread condemnation from every corner of the country and eminent jurists, journalists, intellectuals, civil right activists etc. have demanded that the repression be immediately stopped, the incident be duly probed and immediate action be taken against the culprits alongwith fulfilling the constitutional demands of the workers.
It should be remembered that on May 3 hired goons of the factory owners of Ankur Udyog Ltd. in Gorakhpur had fired upon the workers injuring 19 workers and a girl student. The workers were protesting against the termination of services of 18 workers for participating in the May Day rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Even after a week after the incident the police and administration have taken no action against the culprits of the firing incident, instead they are proactively and continuously targeting the workers and their leaders. The workers had announced to launch a worker's Satyagraha from today due to which the factory owner-police-administration-politician nexus had gone into a frenzy and a series of statements had been issued warning the workers of dire consequences and threatning to arrest their leaders under NSA.
Soon after the news of this incident spread intellectuals, activists, journalists, social and cultural activists have condemened this incident and demanded action against the culprits. Several worker's unions from Punjab and Delhi have announced their intention to join and support the Satyagraha launched by the workers of Gorakhpur till their legal demands are fulfilled.
Meanwhile, jurists, human rights activists, journalists, social activits from the country and abroad have signed a petition to the Chief Minister of U.P. Ms. Mayawati in support of the demands of the workers and have urged her to order a judicial enquiry into the incident. Eminent personalities who have signed this petition include among others poet Manglesh Dabral, Dr. Binayak Sen of PUCL, documentary filmmaker Anand Patvardhan, Ram Puniyani, Justice Rajender Sachhar, social activist Medha Patkar, Illina Sen, Vandana Mishra, Chitranjan of PUCL (U.P.), Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad.
In the meantime, 81 year old veteran social activist and a leader of U.P. teacher's movement and president of Anurag Trust, Kamla Pandey has said that she would herself demonstrate against the repression of the workers in Mayawati's regime and sit on fast unto death unless justice is done to the workers. She has challenged the Mayawati Govt. to arrest her. She said in a statement that she has spent more years in social struggles since the freedom movement and teacher's movement than the age of Mayawati and she won't hesitate in joining the struggle once again if the situation demands.
Citizens Front in support of Gorakhpur Worker's Movement
Contacts: 9936650658 (Katyayani); 9910462009 (Satyam); 8447011935 (Sandeep)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Posted by nickglais on 5/10/2011 12:10:00 AM