Gorakhpur Workers Struggle for Basic Rights sign now

To,
The Prime Minister
Government of India
Prime Minister Office
North Block,
Central Secretariat
New Delhi

An appeal regarding the attempts to crush labour movement by terming it a Maoist terrorist conspiracy

Respected Dr. Manmohan Singh,
In a recent conference in Delhi on the problem of terrorism you mentioned in your speech that "Maoism" or "Naxalism" is not just a law and order problem and that they have the support of the most deprived and oppressed sections of society. You also stressed on the need to understand what factors are creating inequality, alienation and disharmony in the society so that they can be eliminated.

We welcome this statement and hope that your government would really make a sincere effort to know and understand these factors. Although the factors which create social disharmony and alienation in our society are so glaring that it should not take any special effort to understand them, but considering the apathy and class prejudices prevailing in your administration, the possibility of the success of such an exercise looks rather bleak.

It can be understood from a recent example. In Gorakhpur, a small town of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, more than 1000 extremely poor workers of two factories have been agitating in a peaceful and democratic manner for the last 48 days for their lawful demands. They are demanding merely to implement some basic provisions of labour laws like payment of minimum wages, basic safety measures, providing job card, ESI card etc. The district administration and labour department themselves have admitted in the multiple rounds of talks that these demands are legitimate. The workers have put forward their demands at all the levels of the local administration Divisional Commissioner, District Magistrate, City Magistrate and Deputy Commissioner of Labour but the administration has been dragging its feet to tire out the workers and help the factory owners who flout the labour laws, environmental rules as well as industrial safety rules with impunity.

On the other hand a smear campaign has been launched at the behest of the industrialists that the workers' agitation is a Maoist conspiracy to destabilise Eastern UP. Now even the local M.P. is speaking in the same tone. He has gone even farther by adding a communal element to it and alleging that a church is behind all this. If this was not enough, some police officers led by the D.I.G. are threatening that some of the leaders of the labour movement would be dealt with by terming them as Maoist and terrorist while others would be forced to leave the district.

The reality is that it is a false propaganda at its worst. The labour agitation enjoys the widespread support of not only the workers of the two factories in question but also of the several workers of the other factories in the Bargadwa industrial area as also of the citizens of the Gorakhpur city. The action committee leading the agitation consists of some activists of mass organisations such as Disha Students Organisatation, Naujawan Bharat Sabha and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta. These activists were invited by the workers themselves to join the action committee. Disha has been working among the people of Gorakhpur and eastern Uttar Pradesh for last 25 years, NBS for last one decade and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta for the last 14 years. All these organizations have been consistently opposing terrorist politics and are strong supporters of mass-based politics. If an attempt is made to crush such organisations by branding them as Maoist terrorists and such peoples movements as a terrorist conspiracy then the immediate interest of the workers might suffer but the worst affected would be the credibility of your government. If peoples movements such as this one are termed as terrorist conspiracies then it is but natural for the workers and other downtrodden sections of society to think that merely opposing injustice and oppression and demanding legitimate rights is being construed as Maoism and terrorism by your government.

We want to remind you that your government has announced many schemes to improve the conditions of contract, casual and daily wage workers and a number of commissions have been set up in this regard. The workers of these factories in Gorakhpur, despite working at the same place for years together, are no better off than daily wage labourers and are deprived of all kinds of social security. Not only that the benefits of the announcements of your government have not reached to this extremely backward district of eastern Uttar Pradesh, it seems the administration and the peoples representatives of this place are also unaware of them.

We hope that your office would intervene in this matter and give directives to the state government to take necessary action for providing justice to the labourers.

Here are the contact details of the committee spearheading the movement:
Sanyukta Mazdoor Adhikar Sangharsh Morcha
(Joint Workers Rights Struggle Forum)
LIG-II, 414, Vikas Nagar, Bargadwa, Gorakhpur
Mobile No. 094154 62164, 09454643627, 09506163161, 09794756242
Email: [email protected]

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Helena LuceroBy:
City LifeIn:
Petition target:
The Prime Minister of India

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