People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 32

August 07, 2011


Road Transport Workers

Observe Bengal Solidarity Day


AFTER the declaration of West Bengal assembly election results, attacks are being launched against the trade unions in general and on the CITU offices in particular, with active support from the Trinamul Congress (TMC) led state government. The targets of attacks include, among others, the offices and activists of the road transport unions in the state. There were instances in which TMC supporters, waving their party flags, captured private as well as public passenger transport vehicles, minibuses, autos, taxis etc. forcefully. These untoward happenings have adversely affected the democratic and trade union rights of the people, making it virtually impossible to run the normal trade union activities in many areas of the state.


At present, even where there are no followers of the INTTUC, which is the trade union wing of the TMC, trade union offices are being forcibly occupied by TMC activists, evicting the legal occupants who had set up those offices for smooth functioning of their trade unions. Goons are illegally taking in their possession valuable documents relating to trade union activities, overpowering the office bearers of these unions. They are also compelling the workers who were hitherto members of the trade unions opposed to the INTTUC, to switch their loyalties over to the latter. Coercion, including physical attacks, against members of these non-INTTUC unions is frequently being resorted to in order to create an atmosphere of terror. On the other hand, there are many cases in which the attacked and injured persons went to the police station of the concerned area to lodge an FIR, but the local police refused to accept the FIR about these attacks by TMC goons. In most of the cases, victims required hospitalisation and first aid treatment, while in some cases they succumbed to injuries.


There are also cases in which the goons failed to forcibly occupy an office because of resistance, and then they damaged the office itself. Though in the main the Left-wing trade unions are being subjected to such atrocities, even the pro-Congress INTUC offices and their members are not being spared.


Recently, on May 29, 2011, the INTUC president Sanjeeva Reddy addressed a letter to the chief minister of West Bengal inviting her attention to the inhuman atrocities being perpetrated against the trade unions activists in the state and demanded her immediate intervention to stop this trend. But no serious action has been taken so far.


Quite a huge number of bona fide workmen are being prevented from going on duty to their workplace, only because of their union affiliations.

In this regard, the All India Road Transport Workers Federation (AIRTWF) has released the following facts and figures to draw attention to the situation and to underline its gravity ---

Private buses, minibuses and autos routes forcibly occupied by TMC supporters through the state --- 73.

Number of trade union activists murdered --- 4.

Number of trade union activists injured due to physical attacks ---  21.

Number of workers driven out from their places of residence --- 190.

Number of workers arrested on false charges --- 04.

Number of workers who have been prevented from joining duty --- 57.

Number of union offices ransacked or captured by TMC --- 196. (These include 34 transport union offices and one office of the STU.)


In West Bengal, the AIRTWF, other Left-wing trade unions and also the INTUC are putting up a determined fight against this kind of terror regime, but the police and the administration are, at the behest of the TMC activists, trying to foil such resistance by all means. Even though several letters have been despatched to the chief minister of West Bengal, no action has been taken so far. On July 7, 13 leaders of the Left-wing unions and the INTUC state secretary met the labour minister of West Bengal. But no response has so far come from the state government.


It was in such a scenario that the All India Road Transport Workers Federation observed a day of solidarity with the West Bengal Left Front leaders and workers on July 25 across the country, and is collecting relief for those who are attacked and killed by the TMC-Maoist combine. After Lok Sabha election in 2009, 388 Left Front leaders and workers were killed in West Bengal, including 29 who have been killed after the assembly elections came out in May this year. Through a statement issued by its president Mohd Amin and general secretary K K Divakaran, the federation has appealed to the people to contribute generously to the fund for helping the West Bengal victims.


A stop to atrocities against the Left Front leaders and workers by TMC goons with support from the TMC led West Bengal government; a stop to the spree of murder of trade union activists, a stop to the TMC patronised drive of capturing union offices, and punishment to the guilty of these crimes were the main demands the federation raised while observing the West Bengal Solidarity Day on July 25.