Three leading young activists arrested in false cases to crush a workers' movement, 9 more workers implicated in false cases
Labour leaders beaten up in the office of ADM (City) after being called for talks
Young activist suffering from serious heart ailment brutally beaten up
Bail denied till 22nd October, police planning to prolong their detention by accusing them as "Naxalites" and "terrorists"
Reign of police terror at the behest of owners
In order to crush the labour movement which is going on for last two and half months in Gorakhpur city of eastern Uttar Pradesh, the administration has launched a naked reign of terror at the behest of the factory owners. The industrialist-administration-politician nexus is hell bent on crushing this lawful movement at any cost by taking resort to arrests, implicating in false cases, slandering through the media and threats.
On the night of 15th October, three leading activists of the "Joint Workers' Rights Struggle Forum" - Prashant, Pramod Kumar and Tapish Maindola - were arrested by the police. Even though the police have filed cases under bailable sections, the City Magistrate refused them bail on 16th October and extended their custody till 22nd October.
Before this, on the night of 15th October, the district administration called the three leaders to the office of A.D.M. City for talks where they were assaulted by the ADM (City) Akhilesh Tiwary, City Magistrate Arun Kumar and Inspector of Cantt Police Station Vijay Singh. These three senior officers personally led other policemen to severely beat up the labour leaders. They didn't even spare the young activist Prashant even though he and others repeatedly told the officers that he is a heart patient and the beating might have grave consequences for him. This barbaric act by the custodians of law itself shows how brazenly they are siding with the factory owners!
The mobile phones of all four leaders were taken away and switched off in the office of the ADM City and they were not allowed to meet or talk to anyone in clear violation of the directions of the Supreme Court. They related these events on the evening of 17th October when some friends managed to meet them in the jail. They told that the administration refused to take them for a medical check-up despite demanding it repeatedly. Prashant has a serious heart ailment for which he is taking treatment from AIIMS, Delhi and Max Devki Devi Heart and Vascular Institute, Delhi. He was not allowed medical treatment or to get his medicines despite informing the authorities about this. The ADM City abused Prashant when he asked for it. All the while, the officials were asking them to abandon the workers' movement and threatening them with dire consequences.
Later they were taken to the Cantt. police station where they were charged with section 384 of IPC (extortion) apart from various sections for breach of peace (151, 116, 147). The next day false cases were registered by the factory owners against 8 workers plus these four leaders under various sections for forcefully tryingto close the mill, stopping the workers from going to work, threatning etc.
From the day of the arrest itself, the officers of district administration are giving statements that the labour leaders are arrested on the suspicion of being "Maoists" and that "objectionable" literature has been recovered from them. It needs to be mentioned that right from the beginning of the agitation, in order to defame it, the local industrialists and administration led by the M.P. of Gorakhpur have been accusing the leaders of being "Naxalites" and "outsiders". Some officers have told local journalists that the police are preparing cases to keep the leaders under custody for a long duration.
Before this on 15th October, the workers who were sitting on indefinite fast and at the district magistrate's office were forcefully evicted from there. The female workers were literally dragged to remove them from the campus. Women workers protesting against the arrest of Prashant, Promod and Tapish were manhandled.
The workers were demanding that the administration must ensure implementation of the agreement which was brokered by the administration itself. Under tremendous public pressure in favour of the agitation continuing from the first week of August, the administration had got the agreement signed and had given a fortnight's time to the owners to implement it but the owners are openly flouting it. Even after more than two weeks, more than half of the workers have not been taken back to work. At last, when on 14th October the workers started an indefinite fast at the D.M. office, the administration came down heavily on them with its full might.
The demands of these workers of Modern laminators Ltd. and Modern Packaging Ltd. are pretty basic. They are demanding basic rights like minimum wages, job card, ESI card etc and implementation of only a fragment of the labour laws. These workers have been working as modern slaves in almost unbearable and extremely unsafe conditions at very low wages for more than 12 hours a day. All the factories of Gorakhpur have similar conditions. There are no unions in any of the factories; any attempt to organise is immediately crushed. For the first time ever, around five months back, workers of three factories Ankur Udyog Ltd., VN Dyers yarn mill and VN Dyers textiles, formed the "Joint Workers' Rights Struggle Forum" and fought for minimum wages and reductinon in working hours. They braved all odds and were successful in gaining a partial victory. This motivated the thousands of other workers who are toiling in these conditions for years. This explains why the current workers' movement has become a thorn in the eyes of not only the two factory owners but all the industrialists of eastern Uttar Pradesh are losing sleep because of this. They want to crush this agitation at any cost and "teach a lesson" to the workers. The factory owner Pawan Bathwal is a Congress leader and enjoys open support of the local BJP MP Yogi Adityanath. The officers of the local administration and the labour department are sold off. There is a general view in the city that the factory owners have distributed a lot of money among the officers.
During the past two months, the workers have conveyed their demands repeatedly at every level of the administration from Gorakhpur to Lucknow, but the government which talks of "Sarvjan Hitaay"(welfare of all the people) has not bothered to look over it.
After unsuccessful attempts to threaten and split the workers and their leaders, a campaigned was initiated in the last month that this agitation is being led by "Maoist terrorists" and "outside elements" and it is a "conspiracy to destabilise eastern Uttar Pradesh". There cannot be a bigger lie than this. All the three jailed activists who are active in the Joint Workers' Rights Struggle Forum have been working in with various mass organisations for a long time. Prashant and Pramod have been working among the students and youths for past several years. They were active in the factory workers' agitation as well as the agitation of sanitation workers of municipal corporation and university. Most of the intellectuals and workers of the city know them very well.
Tapish Maindola is associated with worker's magazine "Bigul" and specializes on labour affairs. He is also a social activist and has been working among the sanitation and factory workers workers of Noida and Ghaziabad for several years. These days the rural workers under NREGS of Mau, Mainpuri and Allahabad are organising for their demands in his leadership. The Delhi High Court is hearing a Public Interest Litigation based on the well-known report prepared in the leadership of Tapish on missing children of the workers of the Delhi and adjoining region. All the three activists are supporters of mass-based politics and have been opposed to the politics of terror.
This is a naked example of the government ploy of crushing any mass movement by branding it as "Maoist". It must be opposed and exposed. It is a direct challenge from the rulers to all the justice loving citizens, intellectuals, journalists, student-youth activists. Can we keep silent on it? Can we remain mute witness to this farce of "democracy"? We appeal to you to register your protest against this conspiracy to crush a just workers' movement in all possible manners.
What you can do:
- Send letters of protest through fax, email or speed post to chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, chief secretary, labour minister and labour secretary and district magistrate of Gorakhpur protesting against the repression of workers' movement and the arrest of labour leaders. (List of addresses, numbers and emails is given below.)
- Organise meetings and dharna-demonstrations on the issue.
- Issue statements to the media in protest on behalf of your organisations and initiate signature campaigns and send to the above address.
- Participate in the demonstration at Uttar Pradesh Bhavan in Delhi on 21st October, 11 AM by different organisations.
On behalf of the intellectuals, common citizens, students-youths in support of the workers' movement of Gorakhpur,
Katyayani, Satyam, Meenakshy, Rambabu, Kamla Pandey, Sandeep, Sanjeev Mathur, Jaipushp, Kapil Swami, Abhinav, Sukhvinder, Dr. Dudhnath, Shivarth Pandey, Ajay Swami, Shivani Kaul, Shweta, Neha, Lakhwinder,Rajvinder, Ashish,Yogesh Swami, Namita, Vimla Sakkarval, Charuchandra Pathak, Rupesh Rai, Janardan, Sameeksha, Rajendra Paswan.....
For further information, contact:
Satyam: +91-99 104-62009, Sandeep: +91-9350457431
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
List of addresses, phone-fax numbers & emails of officials:
Governor: Shri BL Joshi
Raj Bhavan, Lucknow, 226001
Phone: 0522-2220331, 2236992, 2220494, Fax: 0522-2223892
Special Secretary to Governor: 0522-2236113
Chief Minister: Km. Mayawati
Fifth Floor, Secretariat Annexe
Phone: 2215501 (Office), 2236838 2236985 (Res)
Fax: 0522 - 2235733, 2239234, 2236181 2239296
Labour Minister: Shri Badshah Singh
Department of Labour
Fax: 0522 - 2238925
Principal Secretary, Labour
Department of Labour
Secretariat, Lucknow - 226001
Fax: 0522 - 2237831
Commissioner: PK Mahanty
Office of the Commissioner
Collectorate, Gorakhpur - 273001
Fax: 0551 - 2338817, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District Magistrate: AK Shukla
Office of the District Magistrate
Collectorate, Gorakhpur - 273001
Fax: 0551 - 2334569, Email: email@example.com
ADM City: Akhilesh Tiwari, Mobile: 9454416211
City Magistrate: Arun, Mobile: 9450924888
Dy Inspector General of Police
Phone: 0551 - 2201187 / 2333442
Dy. Labour Commissioner,
Civil Lines, Gorakhpur-273001
DLC: Munni Lal Choudhuri, Mobile: 9838123667
Labour Ministry, Central: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sh. P.C. Chaturvedi Secretary, Labour, Central: email@example.com
National Human rights commission : firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary General, NHRC: email@example.com
UP human rights commission: firstname.lastname@example.org