PUDR Statement against intimidation and harrassment of Maruti-Suzuki workers

December 8, 2012

PUDR expresses grave concern and unequivocally condemns the continuing harassment, intimidation and repression of workers by the state machinery, automobile industry giants and their agents. On 6 December 2012, less than one month after the previous instance of intimidation of Maruti workers by Haryana police, the state police once again adopted similar tactics against terminated workers of the Maruti Suzuki (Manesar) plant. At around 3 pm, on 6.12.12, the police picked up some Maruti workers and volunteers from another workers organisation the Bigul Mazdur Dasta in Gurgaon, as they were peacefully distributing leaflets regarding a future public programme they were to organise. They were detained and subjected to intimidation and harassment by the Haryana police. In the same vein, on the same day the Maruti workers and volunteers of Bigul Mazdoor Dasta were deatined and intimidated by private security guards at the Honda Factory in Greater NOIDA as they were peacefully distributing leaflets about the same programme.

In the previous instance on 7 November 2012 the police had threatened and detained the terminated workers of Maruti Suzuki Ltd when they were trying to start a peaceful hunger strike to protest against their termination. It may be recalled that at that time, out of the 29 workers detained all day, 2 workers who had emerged as active and vocal leaders of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union, were detained in Sector 46 CIA Police station and Sector 10 A Police Station in Gurgaon till much later. They were released only at 9 and 10 pm, after pressure had been built upon the police by PUDR and other organisations and individuals to ensure that they were not tortured. These workers were severely pressurised by the police to leave the union and promised reinstatement in the Company if they did so.

The present incident of 6 December 2012 further establishes how the Haryana police appear to be serving and safeguarding the interests of Maruti Suzuki Ltd. while violating the law and the Constitutional rights of citizens. PUDR strongly condemns the repeated use of such coercive tactics by Haryana police as well as automobile giants against Maruti workers and others. PUDR demands that action be taken against police officers guilty of intimidating and illegally detaining workers. It further condemns the manner in which the police have been blatantly acting as agents of the Maruti management while repeatedly violating and curbing the basic civil rights of the workers. We demand that Haryana Police end its pressure and coercion on workers who are in jail and their families; workers who are presently working in the plant, as well as those who have been terminated.

Upholding the workers’ democratic right to organize and struggle for their just demands, we further reiterate our demand for an independent, unbiased judicial enquiry into the events of 18 July 2012 at the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki Ltd. and the murder of manager Awanish Dev. We also reiterate that all arrested workers and those terminated be reinstated.

Preeti Chauhan
Paramjeet Singh,
Secretaries, PUDR.