People's Democracy

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


No. 06

February 10, 2013



Police Illegally Arrest Workers’ Leader



THROUGH a letter written to the prime minister of India, on, February 2: Surender Singh, general secretary of the CITU’s Haryana state committee, demanded immediate release of Imaan Khan, a leader of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union at Manesar  (Gurgaon). Khan was arrested in gross violation of human rights and constitutional provisions by the Haryana Police on January 24, 2013.


 Drawing the prime minister’s attention towards the highhandedness of Haryana Police and the state administration, the letter said that Imaan Khan, a leading member of the provisional committee of Maruti Suzuki Workers Union at Manesar (Gurgaon), was discreetly picked up by Manesar Police on January 24, from the Civil Lines Road, Gurgaon, while he was making arrangements for a press conference regarding the agitation. He was then booked under various sections including Section 302 IPC, under the FIR No 184/12 dated July 18, 2012. Though his name was never mentioned earlier, he was still put in jail.


It will be recalled that the case mentioned above relates to the violence that took place on July 18, 2012, at the Maruti Suzuki Plant in Manesar. It erupted during the negotiations between the management and the workers union, resulting in the unfortunate death of one of the management side officers. At that time, the union had unequivocally condemned the incident and demanded an impartial and high level judicial inquiry into the whole episode. However, instead of constituting such an enquiry, the Haryana government held the workers responsible for the incident and started indiscriminate arrests, in connivance with the Maruti Suzuki management. The police arrested even some such workers as were not on duty on that fateful day, and lodged them in jail. Any Maruti worker found anywhere was thus picked up, tortured and sent to jail. The Haryana Police also raided the workers’ houses all over the state and threatened their kith and kin of dire consequences.


The FIR No 184/12 dated July 18, 2012, was registered under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 353, 452, 114, 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); 55 workers were named in it and 600 others were included unnamed.


In this case the police submitted a challan in the court on November 1, 2012, against a total 215 workers. Out of these 215 workers, 149 had been arrested by that time while arrest warrants by name were issued against the remaining 66 workers.

Significantly, the name of Imaan Khan was not there in the list of 215 workers held as responsible by the police in its challan.


Further, after the incident on July 18, 2012, the management of the Maruti Suzuki plant at Manesar summarily dismissed 546 regular and permanent workers as well as over 1800 apprentices, trainees, contract and casual workers without giving them any opportunity to present their case.

These dismissed workers then formed a seven member provisional committee of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union to put forward their case for justice to various authorities, as the elected representatives of the union had been arrested by the police. Imaan Khan was a leading member of this committee and petitions bearing his signatures were sent to various authorities including the prime minister of India and the chief minister of Haryana.


The dismissed workers, under the leadership of this provisional committee, also met various ministers and MLAs of the state to seek justice, plead for the release of innocent workers from jail, and reinstatement of the illegally dismissed regular and other workers. They have also been demanding an impartial high level judicial inquiry into the whole episode.


As these efforts did not bear any fruits, the workers planned to commence statewide cycle jathas from various district headquarters on January 21, 2013, which were to converge at Rohtak in the form of a “Nyaya Adhikar Rally” on January 27, 2013. It was in this connection with the reception of cycle jathas in Gurgaon that Imaan Khan was holding a press conference on January 24, 2013, when he was arrested by the police and lodged in jail.


There is thus enough ground to conclude that Imaan Khan was arrested by the police only to teach him a lesson for playing a leading role in espousing the cause of the dismissed Maruti Suzuki Workers and in seeking justice for them. It is to be noted here that he had been active in public  view all through this period, and had met the Gurgaon district and police administration even in presence of the media. To take more specific examples, he met the authorities on November 7-8, 2012 and on January 1, 2013. The police authorities, however, never showed any inclination earlier to arrest him as he was not wanted in the case.

It is therefore genuinely suspected that some more leading activists may be arrested in the same manner.


In sum, the CITU leader’s letter to the prime minister, said, the arrest of Imaan Khan by the Haryana Police on January 24, 2013, booking him under various sections including 302 IPC, six months after an FIR was filed, is a clear violation of the principles of jurisprudence and human rights. Such blatant misuse of police force by the state against its innocent citizens is contrary to the  democratic rights of individuals as enshrined in the constitution of India.

 In the circumstances as explained above, the CITU letter has sought the prime minister’s intervention and support for immediate release of Imaan Khan from the judicial custody, thus upholding the human rights of Indian citizens and trade union rights of the organisations. Copies of the letter have been forwarded to the chief minister of Haryana, chairman of the Human Right Commission of India, director general of Haryana Police, several trade unions and other organisations.