People's Democracy

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


No. 46

November 13, 2011

Lakhs of Workers Court Arrest

Against Govt Policies


THE working class in the country has once again demonstrated its determination to fight against the anti worker, anti people policies of the UPA-2 government by courting arrest throughout the country on November 8, 2011. Lakhs of workers from Jammu and Kashmir to Kerala, from Tripura to Gujarat held demonstrations, dharnas, picketing, rasta roko and different forms of actions to protest the apathy of the government of India towards their demands that have been repeatedly raised by the joint trade union movement since the last more than two years. The call for ‘Jail Bharo’ was given jointly by all the eleven central trade unions including CITU, BMS, INTUC, AITUC, HMS, AICCTU, AIUTUC, UTUC, TUCC, LPF and SEWA.


The anger of the workers against the incessant price rise, unemployment, attacks on labour rights, lack of social security benefits for the unorganised workers, disinvestment, the institutionalised corruption etc were evident in their massive response to the call for countrywide courting arrest. Workers from the organised and unorganised sector, men and women, in more than 500 out of the 640 districts in the country, in the state capitals and industrial centres, marched together with their colourful banners and flags. Industrial workers of the modern automobile, power generation, oil and other sectors, transport workers, mine workers etc joined the construction workers, beedi workers, street vendors, anganwadi employees and NREGA workers and others in the unorganised sector in courting arrest. Teachers, state and central government employees, bank and insurance employees, telecom employees etc marched with them in large numbers in the protest actions in all the states. In some states, the fishers, agricultural workers and peasants too joined the struggle.


In several states, including in the ‘Hindi speaking states’, almost all the districts and industrial centres witnessed massive participation of workers in the ‘Jail Bharo’ programme. Workers courted arrest in all the districts in Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, West Bengal, and Kerala and in almost all the districts in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Karnataka. In several other states including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh ‘Jail Bharo’ was observed in many industrial centres and district headquarters with workers courting arrest in large numbers.


Around Three lakh workers courted arrest in 23 centres in all the subdivisions in Tripura. 1.25 lakh workers joined the action in West Bengal and around One lakh in Andhra Pradesh, where it was observed in 663 mandals and 81 municipal towns. In view of the disturbance in Nalgonda district due to the arrest of a pro Telangana leader, it was decided to observe ‘Jail Bharo’ in the district on November 10. In Bihar, in addition to two rallies in Patna, more than 1000 women beedi workers belonging to the CITU courted arrest in Jamui. More than 500 CITU members along with some fraternal organisations courted arrest in Jammu. The action was observed in eleven centres in Chattisgarh, in nine districts in Gujarat with impressive participation of workers. In Himachal Pradesh, workers courted arrest in eleven out of the twelve districts including the far off district of Kinnaur in the China border; police booked cases against 15 workers belonging to the CITU in Rampur and Rodda in Shimla district. In Jharkhand joint demonstrations were held in all the industrial centres and coal mine areas before the workers were arrested. In Karnataka, workers held demonstrations, rasta roko, dharna etc in 34 centres and were arrested. In Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh more than ten thousand workers marched to the Vidhan Sabha and blocked the road for hours but the administration refused to arrest them till evening. Workers jointly courted arrest in Chandoli and other places while the CITU members courted arrest in Bulandshahr and Firozabad. In Tamilnadu, state government and other middle class employees held separate demonstrations in the evening in all the district headquarters in support of the workers.


In some places in West Bengal, police physically assaulted the workers. In Malda police resorted to severe lathicharge injuring 32 workers. In Burdwan, two CITU leaders including a woman leader were manhandled by the police.


In the national capital Delhi, several thousands of workers led by the central trade union leaders including AK Padmanabhan and Tapan Sen, president and general secretary of CITU, Baijnath Rai (BMS), Sanjeeva Reddy (INTUC) and Gurudas Dasgupta (AITUC) marched towards Parliament. The leaders along with thousands of workers were arrested. A meeting held near Jantar Mantar in Delhi before the workers courted arrest was addressed by all the central trade union leaders who strongly criticised the government’s policies of enriching the rich by imposing more and more burdens on the poor. The trade union leaders also demanded strong action to curtail corruption and declared that the united struggle would be further intensified including a countrywide general strike in the coming months. The date of the general strike will be decided in a joint meeting scheduled on November 25.


In a press statement, the CITU congratulated the working class for their magnificent response to the call of countrywide Jail Bharo/Satyagraha and called upon all its state committees and industrial federations and the workers in general to start preparing for countrywide general strike in the coming months against the anti-people policies perpetrating a regime of loot and plunder on the people at the behest of corporates, speculators and black-marketers.