by Provisional Working Committee, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union
We have been handed an anti-worker political verdict in the Maruti Suzuki workers case going on since July 2012. This is Judgment is ‘class justice’, clearly on the side of the multinational companies. It is not only against the workers directly involved in struggle for Trade Union Rights and the 2500 working class families of Maruti Suzuki facing exploitation-repression all these years, but the entire working class in India, particularly in Gurgaon-Manesar to Neemrana industrial belts. This is despite the fact that no evidence was found against any worker to either the unfortunate death of the HR official or fire in the factory on 18th July 2012.
31 of 148 workers in Jail for last over 4 years have been convicted even against clear evidences to the contrary. 117 workers among the 148 – who spent over 4 years in Jail – have been acquitted of all charges. With convictions and charges declared, the arguments for quantum of punishment will be held on 17 March in the Gurgaon Sessions Court. Of the convicted 31 workers, 13 – which includes the entire Maruti Suzuki Workers Union body – have been charged under various serious sections under the IPC, which include 302 (murder) and others. 18 workers among the 31 have been charged with various offences like rioting, grievous hurt, injury and so on.
Meanwhile the entire Gurgaon and Manesar areas have been turned into Police camps with Sections 144 from 10th to 15th March and deployment of huge Police and paramilitary forces and machinery. Police gheraoed the Maruti factory in Manesar during the time the Judgement was been read out, and halted workers from the plant to gather in Gurgaon with solidarity with the Jailed workers – the SP even showed the gun to the leadership, warning of ‘dire consequences’ against any sign of protest.
In the Verdict, 13 workers among the workers leadership have been charged under Sections 302 (murder), 307, 436, 427, 325, 323, 341, 452, 201, 120B. It has been clearly established in Court by the Defense that murder or attempt to murder do not hold. They face potential life term sentences, while the Prosecution baying for blood, even asked for death sentence in their statements to the media. It is clear that the entire Union body of MSWU has been specifically targeted, despite no evidences, only because they were vocal for workers rights. They have been targeted because they have been the leadership of the struggle for Trade Union rights against the contract system, the horrible working conditions, the low wages, and regime of exploitation and repression by the company aided by the government. These 13 include workers Jiyalal and the entire Union body of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, who are Ram Meher, Sandeep Dhillon, Ram Bilas, Sarabjeet Singh, Pawan Kumar, Sohan Kumar, Ajmer Singh, Suresh Kumar, Amarjeet, Dhanraj Bambi, Pradeep Gujjar and Yogesh.
18 other workers have been charged under various other sections of the IPC. Among these, 4 workers – Ram Shabad, Iqbal Singh, Yogender Singh, Pardeep Gujjar – have been charged under Sections 323, 425, 452, 147, 149 of the IPC. The other 14 workers have been charged with Sections 323, 325, 148, 149, 341, 427 of the IPC.
That 117 workers have been acquitted of all charges show that the case was unjust from the beginning and it has demolished the foundation of the Prosecution case. But they still had to spend 4 and a half years in Jail. We want to ask who will return us these years spent unjustly behind prison walls?
Nevertheless, the workers are united against this repression on the movement. On 9 March, 25000 workers in 6 factories took actions with lunch and dinner boycott, and gate meetings before that. On 10 March after the Verdict, we met in Gurgaon at 4pm after the Verdict, and decided to take the struggle forward with even greater show of unity. Workers from over 30 Unions immediately came and joined in Solidarity, which include all the 4 Maruti plants, Bellsonica, FMI, Honda HMSI, Rico, FCC Rico, Munjal Showa, Munjal Kiriu, Daikin AC and many others. Various Central Trade Unions and workers organisations also joined in solidarity.
It was jointly decided to take solidarity actions in the entire industrial belt. On the date before the punishments are declared on 17 March by the Court, on 16th March, lakhs of workers from Gurgaon to Bawal will boycott factory lunch and dinner in solidarity with the struggle for justice for Maruti Suzuki workers.
This is crucial situation, which affects the entire working class of India. We appeal to all workers and pro-workers forces in the country and everywhere to take solidarity actions in and outside the factories, protest demonstrations, meetings, deputations, press releases, and in any other form in the coming days.
This is a time we have to prepare for a protracted struggle. They want to ‘make an example out of us’ by saying that ‘anyone who struggles for their legitimate rights will be dealt in this way’. But we have made and will make a positive example of collective assertions and struggle against exploitation and repression through forging an ever greater unity of our class brothers and sisters. We shall together fight this present rule of corporate power and the anti-worker central and state governments which is ruthlessly crushing our labour, dreams and our quest for justice.