People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 03, 2006
HIMACHAL CITU DEMANDS CBI INQUIRY
Chamba SP Hand In Glove With HCC Management
THE Himachal Pradesh state secretariat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has strongly condemned the brutal attack on Dr Kashmir Singh Thakur, CPI(M) state secretariat member and general secretary of the CITU Himachal state committee by the police in custody. Dr Kashmir has got severe injuries due to beatings on back, hips and feet while in custody in Chamba police station.
In a statement issued on August 24, 2006, the CPI(M) secretariat stated that Dr Thakur was continuously tortured the previous night for more than 3 hours. He was produced in the court the next day where his medical examination was carried out. According to the report of the medical officer of Chamba hospital, Dr Thakur sustained injuries due to blunt weapons.
The CPI(M) has demanded immediate transfer of the SP Chamba who it said was not only prejudiced but had gone on record showing his preferences for the HCC management. The Party has also demanded immediate suspension of four policemen who were involved in the torture of Dr Kashmir Singh Thakur. These include Inspector Pratap, ASI Anup Katoch and constable Victor along with driver Surender. It may be mentioned here that Inspector Pratap is known for his notoriety and was responsible for the murder of Karam Chand in his custody in Tissa tehsil of Chamba district. The CPI(M) right since the inception of the present turmoil has demanded transfer of the incumbent SP who is alleged to be a sleeping partner with the HCC management in Chamba.
The CPI(M) has stated, since June 10, 2006 when three CITU leaders were murdered by the HCC management in Dakoh in Chamba district, that the police has acted in a partisan manner. Initially they were reluctant to arrest the culprits but later due to public pressure they were forced to do so. Then the main witness of the triple murder case i.e. Pramod Kumar was arrested on frivolous grounds and later tortured in the police custody and was asked to change his statement or else face dire consequences. Then, on August 20 Dr Kashmir was arrested on extremely baseless charges. But surprisingly he was slapped with Section 307 of the IPC. The police led by the above named four personnel tortured Dr Kashmir Singh Thakur. The Party has stated this is a fascist style of governance to which the government owes a reply. The Party has given a statewide call of protest demonstrations for tomorrow.
It may be mentioned that the CITU was in the process of forming a union in Chamera III hydro-electric project in Chamba district. The HCC is constructing this project through several sub contractors. The HCC and these subcontractors were not paying wages for the last four months. The labour laws were not being implemented. The CITU which was in the nascent phase, gave a charter of demands to which the management objected and threatened the union to withdraw the same. On the same night i.e. June 10, 2006, the three leaders were killed and one Pramod Kumar narrowly escaped. The CITU is running the mess of the workers since then. In the meantime, the Labour department sent an enquiry team to Chamba to verify the complaints of workers. The police once again acted in a partial manner and on July 14 at 11.30 p m lifted nearly 70 workers from their hutments to Pathankot which is nearly 150 km away so that they could not deliver their statement before the enquiry team. But, the workers came back and recorded their statements. Because of which the labour department has asked the government to prosecute the company i.e. the HCC. According to a very rough estimate, the company owes more than Rs 50 lakh to the workers in wages. The HCC management wants to bail out of this and is using the state machinery to do so.
Now, the HCC management is trying to restart the work minus the present workmen without even paying a penny. The CITU has objected to this. It is in this background that the police lifted Dr Kashmir Singh Thakur from the site so that the work could be started without the present workforce. It is indeed shocking that the Virbhadhra Singh government has not acted to implement the law of the land so that the workmen could get their due share despite so much happening. The CITU in the meanwhile also knocked on the doors of the High Court demanding CBI inquiry into the murder of its three activists as they feel that the SP Chamba being an interested party would demolish the case to the extent that the present ones named in murder case may be held free in the court of law in future.