Joint Memorandum to CM, Haryana for release of 31 convicted Maruti workers

Memorandum

To,

The Chief Minister

Government of Haryana

Through

The Resident Commissioner

Haryana Bhawan

New Delhi

 

16th March 2017

Sir

The Sessions Court in Gurgaon gave a verdict on 10th March 2017 convicting 31 workers of Maruti plant, Manesar in the State of Haryana Vs. Jiyalal and Others case. In this verdict, while 117 workers have been acquitted, another 31, including the entire union body has been charged under various sections of the IPC including murder, attempt to murder, rioting, damage of private property, causing harm by weapons etc. The final sentencing of the case has been reserved for 17th march 2017.

The workers of the Maruti plant in Manesar have been engaged in a struggle for the formation of their union, a Constitutional right since 2011. The union, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (Reg. no. 1923) was formed in 2012 and since then it had been engaged in negotiations with the company management on various demands of the workers, including that of contract workers.  On 18th July 2012 after an altercation between a worker and a supervisor, the worker was suspended. All this happened while the union was having a meeting with the management regarding some pending issues. As the news of the suspension reached the union, they demanded that the suspension is revoked. According to the workers the company had deployed many bouncers in the premises that day and the police was also called while the negotiations were on. Due to the flip flop of the management personnel on revoking the suspension, tension built up. In the melee that followed, some of the management personnel were injured (none seriously) and a number of workers were also injured. A fire broke out leading to tragic death of one HR manager due to asphyxiation.

Since that day hundreds of workers have been witch hunted and targeted by the company in collusion with the police. After the incident 548 permanent and 1800 contract workers illegally terminated. Around 150 workers were arrested on the basis of list provided by the police on the basis of lists provided by the management, many of these were not even present at the site of the incident that day.  After this 139 workers spent 4-5 years in jail before being released on bail and nine remained in prison through out. ,.

The judgment delivered by the trial court is a continuation saga of injustice. The fact that 117 of these 148 wokers have been acquitted of all charges, points to the fact that the prosecution's case was absolutely untenable. Also the thirteen workers convicted of serious charges, including murder, were the office bearers and active members of the union and have been clearly been punished for taking up the cause of the workers. It should be noted that no evidence was established in the court of law linking any of these workers to either murder or fire, damage of property, and that the main accused could not be identified by the witnesses placed by the prosecution. These are only some of the many glaring loopholes in the case.

In the light of absolute gaps in establishing any evidence in court, this judgment only embodies the anti-worker development policies of the Indian state. A previous High Court judgment denying bail for Maruti workers said that giving bail to workers would set a bad precedent for FDI in the country. In this light, we believe that it is a partisan judgment, based on unfair trial and aimed at giving a strong message to the workers in the entire belt, that they can’t fight for their constitutional rights. The constant threat of ‘Maruti like situation’, the tactics of threat and intimidation, regular enforcement of Section 144, criminalization of workers are an everyday reality of workers in the entire industrial belt from Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera and Bawal.

We the undersigned organizations and individuals believe that these 31 workers have not been proved guilty, they should be released immediately and charges against them should be dropped.

Undersigned:

AICCTU, AIFTU (New), AISA, BASO, Collective, DISSC, DSF, DSU, ictu, IFTU, IMK, JNUSU, KNS, KYS, Mazdoor Patrika, Morcha Patrika, Shramik Sangram Committee, Mehnatkash Mahila Sangatan, Nouroz, NTUI, PUDR, Sarwahara Patrika, TUCI, Jan March Haryana, NSI, MEK, Yuva Bharat, Rahul Roy (Filmmaker), Vijay Prakash (DSE), Vijay Singh   

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