People's Democracy

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


No. 46

November 13, 2011

Jail Bharo Call Evokes Huge Response



There was a huge response to jail bharo campaign in West Bengal.  Thousands of workers - both from organised and unorganised sectors- rallied in 25 cities across the state.


In Kolkata, the meeting and jail bharo took place in Esplanade.  More than 20,000 workers joined in the programme, with streams of processions overflowing the downtown of the city. CITU, INTUC, AITUC, UTUC, TUCC, HMS, BMS along with BEFI, 12th July Committee and Mercantile Federation participated. Initially, it was planned that limited number of volunteers will court arrest. However, thousands of workers in a militant mood forced the police to re-arrange everything. The requisitioned buses to take the protesters were so limited that the police stopped regular buses and took the arrested workers to jail. More than 5000 workers were arrested, others were persuaded by the leaders to remain at the venue. It took almost an hour to arrest the workers. Among those who courted arrest were Kali Ghosh (state secretary, CITU), Shyamal Chakraborty (state president, CITU), Dipak Dasgupta (vice president, CITU), Ramen Pandey (INTUC), Ranjit Guha (AITUC), Ashok Ghosh (UTUC), Naren Chatterjee (TUCC).


In the meeting before courting arrest, Shyamal Chakraborty said, the reason behind the overwhelming response of the workers today was that for last six months the workers in the state were feeling as if they were in jail already. The workers’ rights are being attacked, trade unions are under serious threat. Ramen Pandey of INTUC retorted that attacks on workers have become widespread in the last six months. State transport employees are not getting their salaries. These will not be tolerated, he said.


Big mobilisations were seen in the cities of industrial areas. In Durgapur, thousands of workers marched and violated law. Steel and coal workers participated in large numbers. In Jalpaiguri, tea garden workers joined in numbers. In Malda, police attacked the rally and faced the militant response. Police resorted to lathicharge and used tear gas. In another incident, a bus carrying workers towards Durgapur was attacked in Rasulpur in Burdwan. The bus was coming from Memari. Trade union leaders including veteran leader Maharani Konar was injured in the attack.



The jail bharo call given by the central trade unions was a big success in many places of Andhra Pradesh, particularly in industrial centres in Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, Nellore, Vijayawada etc.


In Hyderabad, thousands of agitators gathered in front of Hyderabad district collectorate office and picketed it. Among them were both organised and unorganised workers, bank employees, government employees and others. They were addressed by state leaders of CITU, INTUC, TNTUC, AITUC, HMS, BMS, APNGOs, Central Government Employees’ Confederation etc. The police arrested the picketers and lodged them in Goshamahal stadium for few hours.


The trade union leaders lambasted the neo-liberal, anti-working class policies of the central and state governments and vowed to intensify the agitations to pressurise these governments to reverse the policies. The unprecedented price rise and disinvestment in public sector companies were strongly criticised.


Addressing the picketers, CITU state president S Veeraiah lambasted both the governments for being utterly irresponsible to the plight of aam admi. He said the UPA-2 government was on one hand giving away Rs 9.5 lakh crore as tax concessions to the corporate sector while on the other heaping greater burdens on the aam admi through repeated petro hikes. He warned of more militant and united struggles to force the government to backtrack from such an anti-people approach. AITUC general secretary Chandrashekar said this unity of workers would continue ahead and reminded how the working class conducted 13 general strikes in the past 20 years against government's anti-people policies.



THE Jail Bharo call given by the central trade union organisations scored a big success in TamilNadu where about 1.25 lakh workers organised picketing and courted arrest at hundreds of centres including Chennai, Madurai and other main cities.


In Chennai, the state capital, thousands of agitators gathered at two centres. In front of the memorial hall in North Chennai, the CITU’s state general secretary A Soundrarajan (MLA), S Kuppusamy (president of the pro-DMK LPF), S S Thiyagarajan (state secretary of the AITUC) and leaders of the BMS, HMS and other trade union organisations led the massive picketing and courted arrest.

In South Chennai, picketing took place near Panagal Palace in Saidapet. Here T K Rengarajan, MP and vice president of the CITU) led the protest action. Thousands of workers were arrested here.


In Madurai, more than 2000 members of various trade unions staged a Road Roko in front of the railway station, demanding that the centre take vigorous steps to bring inflation under control.


The protestors also demanded a national corpus fund for the benefit of unorganised sector workers and a guaranteed pension for all. Among their demands was an amendment for ensuring a Rs 10,000 minimum wage for all.


State CITU president R Singaravelu led the protest in which important functionaries of the INTUC, AITUC, BMS, HMS etc, also participated. Hundreds of protestors were arrested when they tried to proceed to the railway station.


In Tiruchi, near the junction station, hundred of workers staged an agitation, for which permission was not granted by the city police. The trade union members were taken into custody after they defied the police directive and attempted to go ahead with their plan. The agitators squatted for some time on the approach road leading to the junction, demanding that the centre must withdraw the hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG, also control the prices of essential commodities, and desist from the sale of shares of public sector and government undertakings.


The CITU’s state leaders participated in agitations in various other cities as well, including Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Thirunelveli, Salem, Erode etc. In these cities, thousands of textiles workers, engineering workers and garment workers also participated in the protest actions.


Industrial towns witnessed a good response. At Hosur a huge rally was taken out in Kanyakumari district, thousands of horticulture workers staged a picketing.


Across the state, middle class organisations held massive demonstrations in support the workers’ movement.


The participating trade union leaders lambasted the neo-liberal, anti-working class policies of the central and state governments, and vowed to intensify the agitation so as to pressurise these governments to reverse their policies. The unprecedented price rise and disinvestment in the public sector companies were strongly criticised.

S P Rajendran



A massive protest/ jail bharo programme was organized by J&K CITU on the call of the central trade unions and national federations, to oppose the new recruitment policy of J&K government which is anti-youth,  against high price rise, for enforcement of labour laws, fixation of statutory minimum wages at not less than Rs 10,000 per month.


The workers of various unions ie, J&K ASHA Workers Union, Railway Loading & Unloading Workers Union, Northern Zone Insurance Employees Association, Teachers Association, Building & other  Construction workers unions, J&K Kisan Tehreek, Chinab Hydro Power Project’s workers union, Bhartiya Coal Khan Mazdoor Union, Kalakot, Medical Representatives Union etc assembled at Bikram Chowk, Jammu. The rally passed through main bazaars of the city like Jewel Chowk, Gumat Chowk, City Chowk and culminated at Indira Chowk and hundreds of activists led by M Y Tarigami courted arrest. 


MY Tarigami, state president, CITU and MLA while addressing the rally organized the frequent hike in the petro-products which lead to overall inflationary trends especially of the food items, thus, affecting adversely the poor sections of the society.  He demanded that government should refrain from affecting intermittent hikes in petroleum products and LPG that have direct implications on the consumers and demanded an affective Lok Pal bill to check the corruption prevailing at all levels of the government.  Rampant corruption prevalent in the state, if not checked with punitive measures is bound to play havoc in the state. Strongly organized the anti youth new recruitment policy of the J&K state government, he demanded its immediate withdrawal.


Om Parkash, general secretary, CITU demanded amendment of Minimum Wages Act to ensure universal coverage irrespective of the schedule and fixation of statutory minimum wages at not less than Rs10,000 per month with index price and removal of all ceiling on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund and  increase the quantum of gratuity. The CITU supports the strike of workers of Bhartiya Coal Khan Mazdoor Union, Kalakot and Four Lane construction of Road and Tunnel for their just and genuine demands, he said.


Sham Prasad Kesar, regional secretary, CPI(M), Jammu stressed for assured pension for all workers and compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days and immediate ratification of the ILO Conventions 87 and 98. Kesar further demanded the organization of services of ReT teachers, ASHA and anganwadi workers and helpers.  


Pawan Gupta and Ramesh Chand divisional secretary and joint secretary of LIC Northern Zone organized the disinvestment of profit making PSUs. Sunita Bhagat, Anita and Anu, leaders of ASHA Workers Union, Kishore Kumar, Sohan Lal and Banarasi Dass, kisan leaders, also addressed the gathering.



Mumbai witnessed one of the biggest anti government protest demonstrations of the recent period on 8th November 8. The dharna and demonstration was at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai. It was as per the call given by the Delhi convention of central trade union organized ion against rising prices, growing joblessness, for establishment of national fund for the welfare of organized workers, against organizetion of public sector industries, for enforcement of labour legislations, curb on outsourcing of regular jobs and for protection of contract workers. The protest demonstration in Mumbai was organized by Trade Unions Joint Action Committee in which the participation of INTUC and BMS workers was in substantial number. Central government and state government employees and Railway employees under National Railway Mazdoor Union was significant. The dharna and demonstrations at Azad Maidan was presided over by K L Bajaj, CITU leader. The speakers who addressed the gathering amongst others were R P Bhatnagar and  Jayprakash Chajad (INTUC), Jayantilal and Anna Desai (BMS), Sukumar Damle and A D Golandaz (AITUC), P R Menon (NRMU), Suryakant Bagal (BMS), R P Shingh(Central Government Employees), Sunil Joshi (State Government Employees), M A Patil (NTUI), Bhushan Samant (Kamgar Aghadi), Professor K K  Theckedath,(BUCTU), Vishwanath Udagi (AIBIA), and Abraham Mathew (Kamgar Ekata). Similar demonstrations were also organized in all the districts head quarters in Maharashtra. 

P R Krishnan