Police atrocity is so rampant in India that majority of human right cases come from custodial offences. But what the Haryana police did on July 25 has shown that the khaki clad hounds not only can brutalize human rights but also can thwart rights of the nation to have a fairly living work force. They have established that in the era of globalization a worker can protest against exploitation by a Multi National Company only at a severe price: broken limbs and bleeding injuries.
An overwhelmingly large pack of policemen cordoned off a group of workers of the Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), a Japanese MNC, near the Mini Secretariat, Gurgaon and brutally assaulted them. More than 700 workers were injured, many of them critically. When the Haryana government puts the figure at 65, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has put the figure at 92 in a statement in Parliament a couple of hours ago.
The workers had been agitating for over a fortnight against the HMSI management�s arbitrary and vindictive dismissal of over 1000 workers on a long standoff involving the mistreatment of a worker. About six months back a worker had been hit by a management official. When four workers supported their colleague, they were dismissed in sharp contravention of Law of natural justice. Fifty more who protested against this action were served suspension notices. By now, over 1000 workers have been thrown out of their jobs over this issue.
Yesterday�s rally was one of the series of protests demanding reinstatement of the dismissed workers. Workers have also been asking for higher wages in view of the Company�s growing profits. Negotiations have remained fruitless, the Haryana government�s labour department acting probably dubiously against the interests of the workers.
What happened yesterday, July 25, confirms this allegation to a large extent. The police had arranged for a big contingent apparently to foil the workers� protest rally. As the protesters reached the Mini Secretariat at around 1 p.m. further reinforcements arrived. The workers were cornered by the lathi-wielding policemen and maliciously thrashed.
Police claim that the workers had a scuffle with them in the morning on the Mehrauli- Gurgaon road. One DSP was injured in this and some police vehicles were set on fire along with the local SDM�s car.
But eyewitnesses told media, the police attack was unprovoked. Police did not act to disperse the crowd. Its motive was definitely designed to �teach the workers a lesson� so that they could be tamed.
The incident has drawn wide condemnation from opposition parties with the Prime Minister expressing his deep anguish and concern.
It reflects the same mindset that the British Police had unleashed at Jalianawalabag against unarmed Indians. The irony is that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who factored opening up of Indian economy to multinationals, had praised the British rule in his recent visit to UK for the pattern of Police that has perfectly fitted into independent India.
Communist Party of India, which leads the HMSI workers Union, has declared to raise a countrywide agitation against this blatant act of oppression by the Honda-Haryana nexus.
The atrocity is so much crabby, cruel and condemnable that anti-worker-by-nature politicians are also eager to express solidarity with the tortured workers of Honda.
(The NEWS Syndicate)