People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 23, 2006
Police Atrocity On Chamba Workers
THE Himachal Pradesh state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has strongly condemned the brutal attack on the workmen on the Chamera III hydel power project in Chamba district by the police on July 14, 2006. At about 11.30 p m on this day, a contingent of police reached the site of Adit tunnel 4 and 5 and mercilessly started beating the workmen who were asleep in their sheds. They were then stacked in the buses and thrown out of the district of Chamba. Some were dropped at Pathankot and others at Jassur bordering Punjab.
The CPI(M) has given a state wide call of protest against the atrocities being committed by the police on the workmen. A delegation of CPI(M) leaders met the Director General of Police (DGP) and strongly protested this gross violation of human rights of workers by the police. They submitted a memorandum to him seeking immediate intervention and directing the local police to act without prejudice. The memorandum charged that the local police are hand in glove with the HCC management executing the Chamera III hydel project.
The HCC management is known for its notoriety. It may be recalled how the management goons murdered three CITU workers recently at the worksite. The same management was responsible for killing a worker named Dev Dutt, who was shot dead by hired goondas of HCC during the execution of Nathpa Jhakri project. Again it was the same management which was responsible for killing a worker in Banihal railway project in J&K during the tunnel work. The management of HCC also got one leader of the Congress party named Zalam Singh killed and his only fault was that he incessantly used to poke the management for providing jobs to the local youth of the area in Chamera III.
Although the workmen are prepared to work and there is no strike whatsoever, it is the management which is not prepared to initiate the work on one pretext or the other, the CPI(M) leaders stated in the memorandum. In fact, since the last three months the workmen have not got any wages. They are surviving only on the mess which is being run by CITU with the help of locals.
They charged that the present attack by the police was at the behest of the management as a large number of workers who were picked up were witnesses in the aforesaid murder case. The management is resorting to such high-handedness to break the morale of the workmen so that they leave the area and new workmen could be recruited for the execution. This they hope will serve two purposes: One, it will throw out the evidence and two, the pending wages of the workers since the last three months can be written off and swallowed by the management and its contractors.
The CPI(M) has charged the state government of having a clandestine understanding with the management of the HCC and warned that such actions of the police would further aggravate the situation.