It was 43 degrees outside Kaithal mini secretariat on May 18th. The swelling heat wave in the last one month was never a concern for the Maruti Suzuki workers, sleeping outside the secretariat, no means of livelihood since July 18 and the procurement of bail for their 147 co-workers in Gurgaon jail were. They were going to place the same demands outside Haryana industries Minister, Randeep Singh Surjewala’s residence the next morning when Section 144 was imposed all over the town. Close to 130 workers were picked up by the police at 11.45 at night to stop their protest.
The next morning, several others, who reached Kaithal to express solidarity with the workers, were picked up from various entry points including bus stops. Some women were also attacked by the police. Simultaneously, two public gatherings, first, a rally by the Brahmin Samaj on the occasion of Parshuram Jayanti, attended by 3000 people and addressed by the same Industries Minister, Surjewala, whose attention the workers had planned to seek and second by the Haryana Janhit Congress attended by 500 were allowed in the same vicinity even when Section 144 was not lifted.
The state’s apathetic attitude was most evident when the family members of the arrested workers and their advocates were refused a copy of the FIR of their abrupt arrest by the officers at Kaithal Civil Lines Police Station and at the Office of the Superintendent of Police.
It is also reported that the Haryana government has stopped the funds for all the 84 Sarpanches from across Haryana who had extended their support to the Maruti Suzuki workers struggle at the last demonstration of the workers at Kaithal on 8 May 2013.For the last ten months, workers have been demanding the management of the Maruti Suzuki India Limited to reinstate all permanent workers and regularize the contract workers post July 18 incident last year. Between June and October last year, 4000 workers demanded a union independent of the management’s influence and better work conditions. In a peaceful protest that turns violent on July 18, the Human Resources Manager of MSIL lost his life. Following this, 147 workers were charged and are still languishing in the Gurgaon jail. The workers were demanding the Haryana government to stop opposing their bail application.
A peaceful protest outside Haryana Bhawan in Delhi was organized on May 19, in support of the arrested workers demanding their immediate release and an enquiry into the incident.
None of the government officials have responded till now.
Published on Newsclick.in on May 20, 2013