Workers of Gurgaon and Rewari organised an impressive rally under the banner of the Trade Union Council

Workers of Gurgaon and Rewari organised an impressive rally under the banner of the Trade Union Council

, Gurgaon, to reiterate their resolve to fight for their rights, on the 25th of July 2007. The rally took place outside the Mini Secretariat building, Gurgaon, which was close to the very spot where, exactly two years ago, one of the most bestial attacks on workers in India in recent memory had been by the unleashed by the police with the full support of the government at the behest of the management of Honda Motors and Scooters (HMSC).

The roads leading to the venue were decorated with festoons and Union banners. Workers of HMSC marched to the venue in a procession through the streets of Gurgaon. They were joined by contingents of workers from other companies such as Hero Honda, RICO, Sona Steering, Sona Sonic, Bundy India, Speedomax, Lumax, Ameera Foods, Delphi, Satyam Auto, Q H Talbros, Medikate, Gabriel, SKH Metal, Fashion Express, women workers from the export units and many others. Each contingent was enthusiastically greeted by the workers who had already assembled at the venue. The workers proudly celebrated their unity and their resolve to fight against the capitalists and the government for their rights.

Besides representatives of the factory workers who had marched to the venue, the rally was also addressed by Trade union leaders from Gurgaon, Rewari, Noida, Delhi and Faridabad, lawyers and human rights activists. The workers of HMSC put up a play, depicting the events leading to the bestial real – life attack on them two years ago and asserting their resolve to strengthen the unity of the workers of Gurgaon and Rewari in order to be able to continue the struggle against the capitalists and their government better. Workers from Kooda Kamgaar Union presented a song of struggle in Bhojpuri. Activists of the cultural group Nishant presented songs, pantomimes and a play, ‘Gaddha’.

Addressing the rally, Dr Venkatesh of Lok Raj Sangathan recalled how the events of 25th July 2005 had been an eye – opener for many people in India. Soon after news of the attack got around, activists of Lok Raj Sangathan rushed to the area. Together with thousands of other working people of Gurgaon, they denounced the police and resolved to fully support the workers’ fight for justice. The events of 25th July 2005 showed clearly that the government viewed workers fighting for their just rights with contempt and hostility and would not hesitate to brutally interfere on the side of big capitalists, Indian or foreign, in order to beat workers into submission.

Dr Venkatesh said that Lok Raj Sangathan is of the view that the country’s land and its wealth belong to its toiling people – workers and toilers, peasant who till the land, women and youth – and we must all unite to secure our rights. Today the government has taken away thousands of acres of land from peasants in Gurgaon itself for a “public purpose” at low rates. They have then permitted the Reliance monopoly capitalists to set up a special economic zone (SEZ). Is this a “public purpose” or is it meant to earn superprofits for Reliance at the cost of the peasants who were forced to part with their land? Government claims Even today, in many of the factories set up by foreign and Indian capitalists in Gurgaon, so many workers have been kept on contractors’ rolls to prevent them from unionizing and fighting for their rights. One can imagine what the conditions of workers in SEZs would be, where even the poorly – implemented existing labour laws would not apply! The workers of Honda Scooters and the other factories of Gurgaon and Rewari have declared that they will not be cowed down, and this is a matter of pride for all of us. One hundred and fifty years ago, our forefathers launched a heroic struggle against colonial rule. Many of the tasks of that struggle are yet unfinished. Lok Raj Sangathan calls upon all the toiling and patriotic people to unite to complete these unfinished tasks so that sovereignty actually vests with the people of our country.

Two years ago to the very day, police forces mercilessly beat up hundreds of Honda Scoter workers who had been called there to submit a memorandum to the authorities. For several months before that, the workers had faced demeaning working conditions and ill-treatment by company officials as well as attacks from hired goons. When 50 of their colleagues were unfairly dismissed, over 3000 workers held a rally at Kamal Nehru Park, Gurgaon, in the morning of the 25th of July 2005 to demand that those unjustly dismissed should be reinstated with full back wages. They were called by government officials for discussions that afternoon and were packed into an enclosed area with just one exit. In a manner similar to the notorious massacre at Jallianwala Bagh carried out by the British colonialists, encircled workers were beaten up by the police mercilessly – in full view of TV cameras.

Activists of the Lok Raj Sangathan joined tens of thousands of working people of Gurgaon the next day (26th July 2005), as they came out as one against the bestiality of the government and the police. Family members and friends of the workers braved tear gas and lathis to fight pitched battles with the police outside the Civil Hospital, Gurgaon where many workers with serious injuries had been admitted. The grisly incident was condemned by democratic opinion all over India, while the resolve of the workers of Gurgaon only got strengthened. It was demanded that the officials responsible for it should be punished and that cases against the workers should be taken back. The mass outrage all over and steely opposition of the Gurgaon workers forced the government to promise that suspended workers would be reinstated.

The rally of 25th July 2007 was organised by the Trade Union Council of Gurgaon and Rewari to demand the dropping of false criminal cases lodged by the police against more than 60 workers and their supporters, the suspension of the then SSP, Gurgaon, the DC Gurgaon, and other police officials involved in the attack on workers and the lodging of cases of criminal assault against all these officials. It was also demanded that continuing police interference in labour disputes to support the managements should be ended, and that the practice of contract labour which is endemically resorted to by factory owners in Gurgaon and Rewari should be ended forthwith, and that the newly declared minimum wages be paid to all workers. The program was compered by Lalit Upadhyaya and Abdul Safi, office bearers of the HMSC union, along with Ms Rakhi Sehgal. Those who addressed the rally include Com G L Dhar (President of AITUC), Comrade Sachdeva (Secretary AITU)C, Suresh Malik (Sarva Karamchari Sangh), Rajbir Chahel (Rewari Workers Council), Jitendra Sharma (Senior Advocate – Supreme Court), Nihal Singh Dhariwal (of Rewari), , Murari Lal (Gurgaon Roadways Union), Jai Prakash (AITUC), Comrade Prakash Rao (Communist Ghadar Party of India), Satbir Singh (State secretary, CITU), Shri PD Pahuja (HMS), and Shri Kuldip Nayyar (journalist); apart from representatives of all the factory unions which participated.

The workers of Gurgaon and Rewari have indeed observed the anniversary of the bestial attack on them in a fitting manner, vowing to strengthen their unity and fight for the rights of all toiling people in a very inspiring and well – organised rally.

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