People's Democracy

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


No. 06

February 10, 2013



Nyaya Adhikar Rally at Rohtak Humbles CM


Jai Bhagwan


 AS the repression of workers at the Maruti Suzuki plant at Manesar, Gurgaon, unleashed after the July 18, 2012 incident, is still going on, the workers  too are continuing their protest against this repression. Meanwhile, under the union’s leadership, dharnas and demonstration were organised in front of  several ministers but all of them only replied that the chief minister alone could intervene in this matter. On the other hand, the Haryana chief minister is not at all ready to talk to the workers. It was in such a situation that the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union decided to take out a Nyaya Adhikar Rally at Rohtak, the chief minister’s home town, on January 27, 2013.




In order to prepare for the January 27 rally it was decided to take out state level cycle jathas. This was felt necessary in order to dispel the anti-worker atmosphere created by the government, the management and a section of the media in collusion and to expose the repression of workers by the government. On January 21, these cycle jathas were flagged off from six places --- Sirsa, National, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Rewari and Faridabad. Prior to the start of the cycle jatha campaign, union activists organised meetings with trade unions and other sections of society, appealing to them for their help and cooperation in the jatha campaign and Nyaya Adhikar Rally.


These six cycle jathas passed through 20 districts and covered a distance of over 1000 km. Around 200 Maruti workers participated in these jathas. In major cities, towns and villages throughout the state, hundreds of meetings were addressed, handbills distributed and posters were pasted. The common people extended their full cooperation to these cycle jathas. In most of the places the CITU, Sarva Karmachari Sangh, AIKS, DYFI, SFI and JMS cooperated in organising programmes in support for the jathas; activists of the AITUC and Jan Sangharsh Manch also helped in organising these programmes at several places. Thus, through this jatha campaign, the anti-worker propaganda of the government and management was strongly rebuffed and an atmosphere for the Nyaya Adhikar Rally was thus prepared. In this process, a sum of Rs 80,000 was collected from the common people and given to the struggling Maruti workers.




The cycle jathas took place barely a month has passed when 13 union-supporting workers of the Maruti unit were transferred from Manesar plant to other offices of the company in different parts of the country.


Soon after the announcement of the Nyaya Adhikar Rally and cycle jathas programme, the Haryana Police became hyperactive at the behest of the Maruti management. They prevented the cycle jatha coming from Rewari from entering Gurgaon. All the jatha participants were picked up along with their bicycles, kept in the lock-up for the whole day and then dumped at some other place 60 km away. The jatha participants were also threatened of dire consequences if they entered Gurgaon.


Moreover, as if this was not enough, Imaan Khan, a member of the provisional committee formed at the Maruti plant, was picked up by the police and put in jail when he was addressing a press conference in Gurgaon, organised by the union. (See the report elsewhere in this issue.) What is important to note is that the SIT constituted in this case by the Haryana government had already submitted its report three months back in which 212 workers were charged for the July 18, 2012 incident, but Imam Khan’s name was not at all there in this report, nor was there any allegation or charge against him. This shameful action was taken only because he was leading the peaceful agitation organised by the union. It is clear that the Maruti management and the state government resorted to this action in order to create fear among other workers that anyone daring to lead the agitation would meet the same fate. This highly condemnable act in gross violation of human rights has thoroughly exposed the Haryana government’s eagerness to safeguard the interest of the Maruti Suzuki management by blatantly suppressing the democratic rights of the working people.


In protest against this shameful act, leaders of some 25 unions met the Gurgaon authorities the very same day and held next day a protest demonstration in front of the deputy commissioner’s office.  In Rohtak activists of the SFI and DYFI burnt effigies of the state government.


The police and vigilance personnel continuously followed these jathas with an intention of creating terror. In Panipat a public meeting organised in an industrial area as a part of the jatha campaign was disrupted and stopped by the police. In spite of all this, however, the cycle jathas successfully completed their journey and reached the venue of the Nyaya Adhikar Rally in Rohtak on January 27, to be received with loud slogans.




Thousands of people participated in the rally on January 27 and among them there were a good number of members, including hundreds of women  members, from the families of the jailed and hunted Maruti workers. CITU activists from almost all the districts also participated in good numbers. The Sarva Karmachari Sangh, Kisan Sabha, Janwadi Mahila Samiti and other mass organisations also ensured good participation.Addressing the rally, leaders of the Maruti Suzuki workers’ provisional committee said the Haryana government was leaving no stone unturned in declaring Maruti workers as criminals and repressing them. The Haryana government is thus putting the youth behind bars at the behest of a foreign company which is trampling our constitutional rights and labour laws. Leaders of the committee reiterated that they were not responsible for the accidental death of a manager at the Manesar plant on July 18, 2012, and reiterated the demand that the said incident must be probed by a High Court judge.


The speakers castigated the government that under pressure from the Maruti management it had brought false charges of murder and other charges against 212 workers. Moreover, even today, more workers are being hunted, picked up and arrested. Imam Khan, a leader of the provisional committee, was picked up by the police on 24 January when he was explaining their problems at a press conference. In yet another shameful act, the police had abducted a member of the Rewari cycle jatha team when it reached Bilaspur. The speakers also told the rallyists that it was due to the hard work put in by workers that the Maruti’s profit had increased from Rs 105 crore to Rs 2,289 crore in the last ten years. They demanded that the chief minister must listen to their viewpoint and solve their problems.


Addressing the rally, the CITU’s Haryana state secretary Surender Malik and state president Satbir Singh said while attacking the democratic rights of the workers, the Haryana government was giving a free hand to a foreign company to loot our resources. If the Suzuki has become the number one car maker, it is due to the workers’ hard work. But now, as part of a conspiracy, more than 2500 workers have been thrown out. The management has threatened the workers that the plant would be shifted to Gujarat, though the decision to have another plant had been taken in 2009, well before the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union had come into existence. The company’s motive was to finish the union and earn still more profits by exploiting the casual workers. This is what is happening today. Whatever new recruitment is there, is all of contract workers. Before the July 18 incident, 70 per cent of the workers in the plant were from Haryana but now there is none from Haryana among the newly recruited ones.


Leaders of the CITU further said that the way the state government is working to safeguard the interest of capitalists and repressing its own youth is not going to continue for long and that a mass movement will soon develop against it. They said a reflection of this mass anger would be seen in the nationwide strike on February 20-21 when all sections of the workers, employees and other people would come out in the streets.


Raghubir Singh Hudda, state president of the All India Lawyers Union, said the Imam Khan episode is nothing but sheer goondaism of the Haryana Police to please the Maruti bosses. This, however, can’t be tolerated. He termed it as the murder of democracy.


Jagmati Sangwan, all-India vice president of the AIDWA, said that the way the chief minister is not at all bothered while 250 of our youth are in jail, is shameful.


AITUC state secretary Hari Prakash, Maruti Union president Kuldeep Jhangu, Udai Pratap from the RIICO in Dharuhera, Rajender (president of the Hero Honda union in Dharuhera),’ Bhola Yadav (president of the RDC union in Gurgaon), SKS state auditor Shripal Bhati, state Kisan Sabha vice president Master Sher Singh, C D Sharma (Sangharsh Manch), Sudesh Kumari, Rajender Pathak (Lawyers Union), Vinod Bhardwaj and CITU state treasurer Jai Bhagwan, among others, also addressed the rally.




After the rally, a procession marched towards the chief minister’s residence but was stopped en route by the police force that was present in large numbers. This angered the people who sat on the road, forcing the special secretary to the chief minister, J K Malhotra, to come to the protesters. After a prolonged and heated debate, and under pressure from the large number of demonstrators gathered there, he handed over a written letter saying that the  chief minister had agreed to meet the representatives of the Maruti workers at his office on February 13, 2013. It was only after getting this written appointment that the people calmed down.


The main demands of this agitation are that there must be a high level inquiry into the July 18 incident, that the arrested Maruti workers must be released immediately, that 546 dismissed workers along with all casual workers should be taken back on duty, that the ongoing repression of Maruti workers must end forthwith and that Imaan Khan, who was arrested illegally on January 24, must be released immediately. The agitating workers also warned the government that they would further intensify and expand their agitation in case there is no positive negotiation on February 13.