People's Democracy

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


No. 36

September 09, 2012




 Struggle against Repression on Working Class at Nashik


K L Bajaj


THE Everest Company in the Dindori tehsil of Nashik district which manufactures roof sheets, not only refused to come to a wage agreement with the CITU affiliated union for the last nine months, but it also put forward a ridiculous proposal for freezing of the DA. There has been a CITU affiliated union in the company for the last ten years which has signed two earlier agreements with the company. The last agreement came to an end in November 2011. Since the DA freeze proposal was obviously unacceptable to the CITU, there was no choice but to call for a legal strike, which has been continuing for the last eight months. The shocking fact is that out of the 550 workers in the company, only around 150 are permanent, whereas over 400 are treated as contract workers.


There were around 40 rounds of talks to settle the dispute between the union and the management, in which various deputy and assistant labour commissioners were present. The district collector also intervened. But due to the adamancy of the company, no solution could be found. The last joint meeting was held in the Labour Commissioner’s office at Nashik on the afternoon of August 24, 2012. But in spite of a prior commitment, senior officials of the company remained absent and only junior managers with no authority to take a decision were sent. The CITU was represented by its state general secretary Dr D L Karad, senior state council member R S Pande and the factory committee members. When the senior company officials did not come, it was decided to have a fresh meeting later and the CITU leaders left.


After about half an hour, when the junior managers came down to the porch to leave, they were attacked by one of the frustrated workers of the factory. All of them are now out of danger. But using this pretext, the Everest Company management, aided and abetted by the industrialist lobby of Nashik which has always been hostile to the CITU, belatedly filed an FIR in which Dr D L Karad, R S Pande and five other workers were named as the accused in the above attack, although Karad and Pande were nowhere near the scene. The police charged all the seven with S 307 (attempt to murder) and other non-bailable offences under S 109, 120(B), 143, 147, 149, 323, 504 and 506. In the first few FIRs that were filed, Karad and Pande’s names did not figure at all; they were falsely inserted many hours later. One of the main demands was that the names of those not involved be excluded from the charge sheet.




As soon as news of this attack on working class leaders came in the wee hours of August 25, the CPI(M) and CITU state leadership swung into action. A joint call was given by CPI(M) state secretary and AIKS CKC member Dr Ashok Dhawale, CITU All India vice president K L Bajaj and CITU state president Narsayya Adam [all three being Central Committee members of the CPI(M)] to observe August 27 as a statewide protest day against this blatant State repression on the working class movement. The DYFI state conference being held then at Mahur in Nanded district condemned the State repression at Nashik.


On August 25, a 5000-strong working class protest rally was immediately held in Nashik, and it was addressed by leaders of the CPI(M), CITU and AIKS – J P Gavit, ex-MLA, Sayeed Ahmed, Dr Vivek Monteiro, Kisan Gujar, Sitaram Thombre, Dr Ajit Nawale, Shridhar Deshpande and CPI district secretary Raju Desale. On August 26 and 27, K L Bajaj and Narsayya Adam visited Nashik, met the police and labour officials and demanded an end to the repression on the working class movement.


From August 27 to 29, large protest actions were held in several centres of the state like Mumbai, Solapur, Thane, Pune, Jalna and so on. On August 27, the DYFI held a large protest demonstration in Nashik city. On August 29, the largest protest action of nearly 10,000 peasants from various tehsils of Nashik district was held at Nashik under the AIKS banner and all the peasants courted arrest. This action was led by J P Gavit, Kisan Gujar, Irfan Shaikh, Savliram Pawar, Laxman Gaikwad, Gunaji Gavit and others and it was an excellent example of worker-peasant unity in action. On August 30, the FMRAI and CITU-affiliated MSMRA unit of Nashik held another impressive protest rally.


On August 29, a CPI(M) and CITU delegation comprising Narsayya Adam, K L Bajaj, Rajaram Ozare MLA, Sitaram Thombre and Tanaji Jaybhave met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, home minister R R Patil and labour minister Hasan Mushrif, apprised them of the true situation and demanded an end to repression. 


On September 1, hundreds of workers under the CITU banner once again courted arrest in Nashik city. Among those who led this action were CPI(M) state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale (who had just returned from the CPI(M) Bihar state party class that was held at Motihari in East Champaran district), CITU state vice presidents Mahendra Singh and Sitaram Thombre, Shridhar Deshpande, Kalpana Shinde and CPI(M) municipal corporators from Nashik, Tanaji Jaybhave, Sachin Bhor and Nandini Jadhav.


On September 3, a high-powered delegation of the CPI(M) and the CITU led by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, MP, and comprising CITU general secretary Tapan Sen, MP, CPI(M) state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale, CITU vice president K L Bajaj, CPI(M) Nashik district secretary and AIKS state president J P Gavit, CPI(M) Nashik city secretary Shridhar Deshpande and CPI(M) municipal corporator Tanaji Jaybhave met the union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in Parliament House in New Delhi. These were positive meetings where, along with a demand to roll back the repression on the working class movement, Sitaram Yechury also raised the vital point of factory owners trampling on labour laws and workers rights in the era of neo-liberalism.


On September 5, state home minister R R Patil and state labour minister Hasan Mushrif convened a special meeting in Mumbai of CITU leaders, the top management of the Everest Company and senior government, labour and police officials. Constructive discussion took place in this meeting that was attended on behalf of the CITU by Narsayya Adam, Dr Vivek Monteiro, Sitaram Thombre, Shridhar Deshpande, Advocate Vasudha Karad and Tanaji Jaybhave.


On the same day, as a result of great efforts put in by a team of lawyers in Nashik led by Adv Jayant Jaybhave, Dr D L Karad and R S Pande, four of the five workers were released on bail and they were greeted by the workers with a rousing ovation. But the struggle to conclude an honourable agreement with the Everest Company, to counter the repression on the leadership of the working class movement and to fight against the neo-liberal policies of the government and their anti-working class orientation, which is implemented by the factory owners at their will, of course, continue in the days ahead.