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Brutal Lathicharge and Molestation of Women at Workers’ Dharna in Rudrapur

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 25, 2007

Workers of factories under the SIDCUL industrial area (of State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttaranchal Ltd.) were brutally lathicharged on September 18. Women (mostly family members of the workers) who had joined the peaceful dharna were molested; several male policemen would attack women protestors together, tear off their clothes and abuse them.

The agitation here began several months ago against the illegal lockout by the Bhaskar Factory Management. Despite the clear evidence of legal violations by the Management, the Uttarakhand Government and local Administration have protected the management and penalised the workers. The agitation spread to neighbouring factories as well. In the ACME Telepower factory, 3 workers were thrown out for participating in the protest; and when a Strike was held to demand restoration of these activists to their jobs, 200 workers were thrown out. The peaceful protest dharna at the factory gates has been ongoing for a long period. On September 18, around 150 workers and their family members were at the dharna spot at the factory gates. They were brutally lathicharged, and 70 activists have been arrested. These include AICCTU leader KK Bora, SIDCUL workers’ leaders Vijay Sharma, Shishupal Negi and Harish Joshi as well as CPI(ML) leader Sanjay Sharma.

In response to the outcry against the brutal assault on workers and women (footage of which was carried by some media channels), the DGP has ordered an enquiry. But the fact that the SDM was present during this display of police brutality, and management goons in plain clothes joined the police force in their attack, shows that the crackdown and attack on workers has happened with the full approval and under the orders of the Uttarakhand Government.

The CPI(ML) has demanded punishment of the police officials guilty of the lathicharge and assault on women; release and withdrawal of charges on all the workers and leaders; and immediate compliance with the just demands of the workers.

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