Petition sent to UP CM on Sunday, eight May, Morning

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: Demand for urgent action: Firing incident on workers by hired goons of factory owners in Gorakhpur (UP), India : To : Ms. Mayawati, Hon. Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh Government : We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the gruesome incident of indiscriminate firing upon the factory workers of Ankur Udyog Ltd, Gorakhpur (UP) on 3rd May by the dreaded criminals hired by the factory owners which caused serious injuries to 19 workers.

The workers were protesting the suspension of 18 of their colleagues. The factory owners were unhappy with the workers and wanted to “teach them a lesson” because they had enthusiastically participated in large numbers in May Day rally held in New Delhi where thousands of workers had gathered from different parts of the country as part of the Workers’ Charter Movement 2011 to demand their basic constitutional and legal rights.

This heinous incident is just a new episode of a series of shenanigans resorted by the industrialists of the Gorakhpur region in the last couple of years to stop the workers from uniting and organizing for their just and lawful demands. What is more intriguing, however, is the fact that the local political, administrative and police machinery is fully hand in glove with the industrialists in their nefarious design. It is evident from the fact that even though the workers had laid siege to the factory after the firing took place and encircled the criminals who opened fire, the police allowed the criminals to go scot free after reaching at the site. Instead of arresting he criminals the police arrested few workers and an attempt is being made to implicate the workers and their leaders in false charges. The rabid anti-labour and fascist attitude of the BJP Member of Parliament of the area, Yogi Adityanath has added salt to the injury of the workers. Ever since the workers of Gorakhpur started an organized movement two years ago, Adityanath has been attacking it through a mindless smear campaign in the regional media that this movement is being run by “Maoist-Terrorists” and had even tried to communalise the issue by claiming that the movement is being "funded by the Church".

The workers of the industrial areas of Gorakhpur are living a life which can at best be described as inhuman. The labour laws related to the minimum wages, overtime, working hours, job card, PF,ESI, safe working condition etc exist only on paper. The local administration has completely failed to fulfill its constitutional and legal obligation to implement these laws. Two years ago, the workers of this region started an organized movement for the basic demands of implementing the labour laws in the factory. But instead of paying heed to the just and lawful demands of the workers, the administration started conspiring to break the back of this movement at the behest of the industrialists. The leaders of workers, who went to the DLC’s office for a dialogue, were taken into illegal detention and were beaten brutally. They were slapped with false charges and there were reports that they could be even encountered by branding them as “Maoists”. It was only after a campaign was organized by several democratic and civil right groups and intellectuals that the administration had to finally release the leaders.

This time around the workers had to face bullet simply because they dared to go on leave for a couple of days to attend the May Day Rally in Delhi as part of the Workers’ Charter Movement. In the countdown to this rally, the factory owners had been threatening the workers to “teach them a lesson” if they dared to attend the rally. The Divisional Commissioner of the division also issued a statement in the media that the “outside elements” who are instigating the workers would not be spared. Whatever transpired after the rally has completely exposed the politician-businessman-administration nexus in the region.

Clearly there is a condition of total anarchy prevailing in the industrial landscape of Gorakhpur. Ms. Chief Minister, you have often given statements in the media about the need of a determined fight against the menace of terrorism. We just hope that your definition of terrorism encompasses this naked reign of terror of the industrialists in connivance with the local administration which prevails in Gorakhpur. In order to restore normalcy in the region we demand that:

the criminals who fired upon the unarmed workers and the factory owner who hired them be arrested immediately and tried;

a judicial inquiry should be instituted on this entire episode including the on the complicity of the local administration and police and the guilty officials be punished;

all the false cases against the workers be revoked immediately;

suspension of all 18 workers be revoked and the illegal lockout by the two factory owners be ended.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Justice Rajindar Sachhar, Medha Patkar, Einde O'Callaghan, Debbie Brennan, Agneya Sail, Himanshu Kumar, Alok Agarwal, Prabhat Kumar, Chitranjan Singh, Mangalesh Dabral, Rajwinder, Lakhwinder, Aniruddh, Ramashankar, Joseph K Joshua etc (List of 326 signatures attached)

CC:

1. Shri B.L. Joshi                                                                 
Hon. Governor, Uttar Pradesh

2. Shri G.K. Pillai
Home Secretary, Govt. of India

3. Shri Mallikarjun Kharge                                                
Minister of Labour, Govt. of India

4. Shri Shailesh Krishna
Principal Secreatry, Labour, Govt. of UP

5. Shri Kunwar Fateh Bahadur Singh                              
Principal Secreatry, Home                                               
Govt. of Uttar Pradesh

6. Shri Ravindra K. Nayak
Divisional Commissioner
Gorakhpur


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