This is an Amur falcon video.
There was a sad story of many of these small falcons being killed in Nagaland in India while on their migration all the way to Africa. Fortunately, that stopped later.
This is an Amur falcon video.
There was a sad story of many of these small falcons being killed in Nagaland in India while on their migration all the way to Africa. Fortunately, that stopped later.
10 July 2015
More specifically, Rajab tweeted about links between the Bahraini autocratic regime and ISIS. There are many such links.
Most people in Bahrain are against its absolute monarchy. To prop up its wobbly position, the royal family relies on the Saudi autocracy and its armed forces. And also on the fanatical Saudi wahhabist state ideology, the model for the ISIS ideology.
Twitter is a social conversation! We need to exercise every pressure we can to release him. Furthermore, I think it would be prudent to set up a working group between Bahrain and the EU to work on human rights– in particular, media freedom.
From the Times of India:
TNN | Updated: Jul 6, 2017, 09.50 PM IST
Sources told TOI that the two Salafi preachers from Kerala – one from Mankada in Malappuram and the other from Perumbavoor in Ernakulam – were instrumental in radicalising the youth. Four members of the group, including Muhadis from Vandoor, were killed in military operations within a span [of] four months in Syria.
The Salafi preachers had organised classes at a religious centre in Bahrain and at other places where they injected the extreme Salafism in the youth. A few members of the group were working with a catering company in Bahrain.
Sources said the preachers are members of a splinter group among the Kerala Salafis and have no connection with any of the established Salafi organisations in the state. One among them is currently in Mangaluru and his activities are closely monitored by the security agencies.
After getting initiated into extreme Salafism, the youth were learnt to contact some well-known Salafi scholars from Kerala who went to Bahrain at different times. “The Salafi scholars did not entertain the youth as they were found to have strong leanings towards the Islamic State,” sources said.
The youth later came into contact with Abdul Rashid Abdulla, the former employee of the Peace International School in Kozhikode, who had already become a full-fledged IS cadre. It is suspected that the Salafi preachers had a role in helping the youth in establishing contact with Abdul Rashid, who is learnt to have steered them to the IS stronghold in Syria. Rashid himself has landed in Afghanistan and is coordinating the propaganda activities of [the] Kerala module.
The unravelling of the Bahrain group has confirmed the suspicion of the security agencies that the influence of the IS runs deep[er] in Kerala than it was initially thought to be. The number of Malayalis who joined the terror outfit could be much higher than the official estimate which is based on missing cases. IS is suspected to have recruited more Malayalis working in the Gulf countries. Authorities feel that the members of the families of the IS recruits are either unaware of their migration to IS strongholds or are keeping mum due to fear of being ostracized by the society.
Insights gained regarding the Bahrain group have once again forced the law enforcing agencies to sharpen their focus on the Salafi groups in Kerala. Many youth in the Salafi organisations have lost sense of direction after the innumerable splits in the movement.
… Many of the youth who are associated with these extreme Salafi groups finally end up in the tentacles of the Islamic State [ISIS].
This video from the USA says about itself:
29 January 2017
LIVE FROM SUNDANCE 2017: Director Rahul Jain chronicles and confronts the wage slavery and labor exploitation in India and beyond in his documentary MACHINES. SCREEN‘s Mike McNamara and Mr. Jain discuss the film, the issues and the future.
By Alan Frank in Britain:
Hellish vision of dark satanic mills
Friday 19th May 2017
Directed by Rahul Jain
GIVEN the overabundance of cinema festivals held annually around the world, a cynic might believe that if a film is trailed from one to the other, then it should eventually make good by winning an award.
That’s most certainly not the case with Machines.
Director Rahul Jain’s extraordinary debut documentary about workers in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India, deserves every award it has received, and there’ve already been a few.
Made as a mid-term project at the California Institute of Arts, and impressively filmed in atmospheric wide screen by Jain and Rodrigo Trejo Villanueva, it takes the viewer into the contemporary slave labour-style fabric factory hell of the enormous sweatshop.
Completed product is glimpsed in a chilling sequence where buyers haggle over the price of the cheaply produced goods, only to be smugly informed that the fabric is better than that from Korea.
The working conditions of the luckless men and children sweating their lives out for minimal pay in this 21st-century version of dark satanic mills can mean, as one employee tells us, slaving for 36 to 48 hours non-stop.
They wash themselves in steam escaping from machines and wear plastic bags to protect them from the tropical rain.
Jain’s superb film-making relies as much on picture-perfect images as on clever editing to create a claustrophobic-feeling Hades where an employee claims that nobody is exploiting him and he needs the work to raise kids.
Another points out that he cannot afford cigarettes and has to chew tobacco as a relief from the work and a child states: “You have to work 12 hours, no matter what.”
Managers are nowhere to be seen until a smug boss informs us that the appalling system continues because “Indians can be motivated only in terms of salary” and then comments that if the workers were to unite, then management would give in.
But there is no sense of unity, only a desperate desire for survival.
The West is spreading a new wave of feel-good movies and false hopes: here.
This video says about itself:
Frauke and Nina collecting Cambay Amber in Vastan, India in 2012. Video by Keith Luzzi.
May 17, 2017
Summary: Researchers have identified three new species of insects encased in Cambay amber dating from over 54 million years ago. Researchers describe the new species of fungus gnats, which provide further clues to understanding India’s past diversity and geological history.
A new species of fungus gnat in Indian amber closely resembles its fossil relatives from Europe, disproving the concept of a strongly isolated Indian subcontinent.
Researchers have identified three new species of insects encased in Cambay amber dating from over 54 million years ago. In a new study published by PeerJ, researchers describe the new species of fungus gnats, which provide further clues to understanding India’s past diversity and geological history.
The most interesting finding from the discovery of these new gnat species is related to India´s plate tectonic history: Palaeognoriste orientale in Cambay amber belongs to a group that has previously been reported from slightly younger Baltic amber only. The species in Indian amber closely resembles its fossil relatives from Europe and therefore adds further evidence to regular faunal exchange between India and Europe while disproving the concept of a strongly isolated Indian subcontinent.
India, which was one part of the ancient supercontinent, Gondwana, started separating and heading north about 130 million years ago, finally collided with Asia some 59 million years ago, resulting in the Himalayan mountains. The time of formation of this amber (or at least its burial) is most likely around the time of collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia.
The fossils of long beaked fungus gnats (Lygistorrhinidae) found in the Cambay amber are an exciting discovery. The name of this group refers to one of their most conspicuous characters: an elongated proboscis, which is presumably for feeding from flowers. This small family of tropical flies is known by only seven fossil and eight living genera. Given the rareness of this group Indian amber has revealed a surprising diversity with three species in three different fossil and modern genera. This even exceeds the number of known species in the well-studied Baltic amber, from which only two species are reported.
Cambay amber from India has only been studied for a few years, but is already providing an important role in uncovering secrets regarding the origins of India´s fauna. For many years, the well-established theory stated that India formed an isolated continent during its drift, allowing a highly endemic biota to develop. However, flies and other insects entrapped in Indian amber continue to reveal faunal connections to different epochs and regions of the world.
Though the exact mechanisms of faunal exchange remain unclear so far, dispersal might have been facilitated by an island chain system between India and Europe, as has already been suggested for biting midges.
This video from India says about itself:
30 March 2017
The world’s longest venomous snake, the king cobra, usually tries to avoid confrontation with humans. However, a few days ago, a thirst[y] king cobra found its way to Kaiga village in Karnataka, presumably in search of water. Karnataka has been hit by drought and is suffering from scarcity of water. In an amazing video, a wildlife rescue worker is seen offering the thirsty cobra a drink of water from a bottle – and the snake can be seen lapping it up.
From the World Socialist Web Site:
By a WSWS reporting team
24 March 2017
More than 8,000 workers joined a protest in Manesar, Haryana yesterday to demand the immediate release of 13 Maruti Suzuki workers who have been sentenced to life in prison on trumped-up murder charges, as well four other workers sentenced to five-year jail terms on lesser charges.
The 13 include all 12 office-bearers of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU). Workers at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar car assembly plant established the MSWU in bitter struggle against a company-controlled union as part of their fight against poverty wages, contract labour jobs, and a brutal work regime.
Just months after Maruti Suzuki was forced to recognize the MSWU, the Japanese-owned automaker staged a provocation, working hand-in-glove with the police and Congress Party-led Haryana state government. Maruti Suzuki seized on a company-provoked factory-floor altercation and a fire, which mysteriously broke out in the middle of the melee, to mount a legal witch-hunt against the workers and purge its workforce.
In joining yesterday’s march and rally, workers defied a blanket ban state authorities have imposed on all gatherings of five or more people in Gurgaon, the district in which Manesar is situated, until May 14.
An MSWU spokesperson told the World Socialist Web Site that police initially tried to prevent workers from marching from their respective plants, at the end of the day shift, to a Manesar park. However, when they saw the size of the protest—especially at the Manesar Maruti Suzuki plant where some 3,000 workers were gathered—they decided to let it proceed.
The government deployed five hundred police on the streets of Manesar to surveille and intimidate workers. It also let it be known that “two battalions” of additional security forces were standing by.
Yesterday’s protest involved workers from dozens of factories in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt, a huge auto-making and manufacturing centre on the outskirts of Delhi, India’s capital. There were also delegations from other industrial suburbs of Delhi, including Noida and Faridabad, and as far away as Alwar, in Rajasthan.
Addressing the rally, MSWU Provisional Working Committee member Ram Niwas said, “We are holding peaceful protests, but that does not mean we are weak. We will hold an all-India protest against the state and the Maruti management on April 4 and will continue doing it until our 13 brothers are given justice.”
Niwas went on to denounce the monstrous frame-up of the 13 workers for the death by asphyxiation of a Maruti Suzuki Human Resources (HR) manager, the arrest and years-long imprisonment of close to 150 other workers, and Maruti Suzuki’s firing of more than 500 permanent and 1,800 contract workers after the July 18, 2012 altercation.
“When the post-mortem report held suffocation due to fire as the reason behind the death of the HR manager, how come the workers are charged for murder?” asked Riwas. “They ruined hundreds of lives by rendering them jobless, and now they have finished the lives of these 13 workers. We are in touch with international labour organisations to gather support.”
Kuldeep Janghu, general-secretary of the Maruti Udyog Workers Union, told the rally, “These convicts are innocent and we will appeal against the District Court’s judgment in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. We will request the court to conduct a judicial inquiry as well so that the truth is revealed. We want all the 13 workers convicted of murder in the case to be released.”
Both the rally speakers and workers interviewed by the press denounced as a sham the “investigation” that a police Special Investigation Team made of the 2012 events. They noted that even the judge who convicted the 13 had had to admit that the police had colluded with management and had fabricated evidence. They also pointed to the incontrovertible evidence that police beat and tortured many of the 148 workers with the aim of extracting phony confessions from them.
Khushi Ram, head of the MSWU Provisional Working Committee, said the union is fighting for the reinstatement of all 546 permanent workers the company fired during its August 2012 workforce purge. “They terminated 546 workers,” said Ram, “despite the special investigating team naming only 214 of them in its report. Now, even the [District] Court has acquitted 117 of those who were implicated in the case. The company should now take them back.”
The Maruti Suzuki workers are the victims of a company-state vendetta aimed at intimidating workers in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt and reassuring investors that India’s political establishment will ruthlessly suppress worker opposition to the sweatshop conditions that furnish their massive profits.
At the March 17 sentence hearing, the prosecution pointed to the Indian government’s “Make in India” policy, which aims to entice foreign investors to turn from China to India for cheap labour, in arguing for the court to sentence the 13 to hang.
No time can be lost in rallying workers and all those who uphold democratic rights, in India and around the world, to demand the immediate release of the Maruti Suzuki workers, the vacating of all the convictions against them, and the reinstatement of all the victimized workers.
The Japanese-owned automaker has said it intends to press the authorities to appeal the acquittal of the 117 workers and to seek harsher penalties for those convicted. In other words, it is pressing to have the 13 men whose only “crime” was to have challenged their brutal exploitation executed.
There is intense anger among workers in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt and across India at the horrific “class justice” meted out to the Maruti Suzuki workers. …
Indian supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International and the World Socialist Web Site intervened at a rally in Chennai yesterday to call for the mobilization of the independent strength of the Indian and international working class to fight to free the Maruti Suzuki workers.
The rally had been called by the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), which is affiliated to the Maoist Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML), to commemorate Bhagat Singh, a revolutionary terrorist executed by the British colonial regime on March 23, 1931.
The ICFI supporters distributed copies of the ICFI statement “Free the Framed-up Maruti Suzuki Workers!” and won a warm response from many of the nearly 300 workers in attendance …
Nadaraj, a 27-year-old Renault-Nissan worker, said, “I am also working in a global company which manufactures cars. I believe it is important that through this international campaign we should develop interaction with global autoworkers. Since Maruti Suzuki is also a global company, challenging it would require the international mobilisation of workers.
Anandan, a driver said: “The international campaign to defend the Maruti Suzuki workers is important. Keeping the workers who fought for legitimate rights, such as the right to form a union and wage hike, in jail for four years without bail shows the courts are not for workers. Rich people like Sekar Reddy could come out of jail in bail within a week even if he did carry out a murder. … It is painful to imagine how the families of the jailed workers would have suffered. Now 13 are given life sentences. Their families will be thrown on the streets.”
Venkatesan said, “In India the cheap labour contract system prevails in all industries including in public industries. The jobs are not secure even in the government-owned companies. Maruti Suzuki workers were framed up by the collusion of company, police and the government. The political parties serve the capitalist class. Workers and the masses don’t get anything by these parties and the courts. Therefore, this international campaign is useful.”
Another worker, Surender said, “I strongly condemn this verdict. I am confident the Maruti Suzuki workers will win. The global companies think they can do anything with money. But the unity of the international workers is more powerful than that. We are not hesitant and we would like our comments and photos published. This will reflect the international unity of the workers and through the united struggles of the young workers a change can be made.”
“We should be outraged by what is happening in India.”
US, Canadian autoworkers speak in defense of framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers
By a reporting team
25 March 2017
The campaign by the International Committee of the Fourth International to defend the framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers in India is winning support from autoworkers in North America.
On March 18, the Gurgaon district court in the northern Indian state of Haryana sentenced 13 Maruti Suzuki workers to life imprisonment on bogus murder charges and handed down heavy prison sentences against 18 other workers on lesser charges.
The case against the Maruti Suzuki workers has been concocted by the multinational auto company, working in tandem with state officials to make an example of these workers. Their only crime was fighting against the brutal conditions at India’s largest car manufacturer. The ICFI, which has launched an online petition, has called upon workers and youth throughout the world to fight for their release.
World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to autoworkers in the Detroit area as well as to workers in Ontario, Canada about the significance of the defense campaign for the interests of the working class as a whole.
A Socialist Equality Party campaign team spoke to autoworkers Friday at the Fiat Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly Plant north of Detroit. They distributed copies of the most recent WSWS Autoworker Newsletter with a statement on the Maruti Suzuki case.
A young worker told the WSWS she was “horrified” by the facts that she had just heard about the Maruti Suzuki frame-up. “They don’t want us to know anything about this. It seems like the union has flipped over to management.”
Another young worker stopped to speak to the WSWS. He said, “Everyone wants the same thing, but we are strong when we are united. They are always telling us they are going to send our work overseas, so I can see that international unity is important. No one should be forced to work in an unsafe environment “
The worker said he appreciated the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter for keeping workers informed about the case and other important issues. “It definitely lets us know what is happening. They don’t let us know anything in there,” he said pointing to the factory, “besides what they want us to know.”
Several workers noted the complete silence by the media as well as the United Auto Workers on the Marui Suzuki case. “They don’t want us to know anything about this,” one worker said. “They don’t want us to read and know the truth.”
Jenny, a former temporary worker at General Motors‘ Indianapolis Stamping Plant, also spoke in support of the Maruti Suzuki workers. In 2010, the workers at her plant fought against wage cuts imposed by the company … . The workers won support all over the world for their fight.
“Arresting these workers and giving them life sentences, all that is is a fear campaign to make them silent. The Maruti Suzuki workers are fighting for what they deserve.
“The government in India wanted to kill the workers at first, for standing up for what’s right. That is terrifying. What they are fighting makes what we faced in Indianapolis look like a cakewalk. We stood up against GM … . They shut our plant. We had to move to another state to get work.
“It doesn’t matter if you are American or Indian—people have to put that aside. We are all fighting for a decent living, to stop breaking our backs for the companies and to get what we deserve to live. The bigger companies use scare tactics to keep people down.
“We’re told workers in other countries are taking away our jobs. No, they are trying to live. They have babies to feed and bills to pay. It’s not about ‘Made in India’ or ‘Made in America.’ …
“It will take a global effort by the working class. Everyone in every country should go out on strike for one day all over the world and everything would collapse. They would realize it is the workers who are making them rich.”
Tiffany, a young Fiat Chrysler worker in Detroit, said, “I signed the petition and read about this. I was shocked. There were so many people willing to take a stand, striking and standing up.
“It’s incredible that 13 workers were given life sentences. They’re using the workers as scapegoats. There is no proof that they killed anyone. It’s not surprising that the US government backs the Indian government because they want to do the same thing to us here.
“The jailed workers are hopeful and not giving up. That says a lot about their character. They were sentenced to life for standing up. If the Indian government thinks nobody knows about this case, then they will try to get away with it. We have to share their story. I didn’t have any idea about it until I read it in the World Socialist Web Site. We have to bring awareness of this case to other workers.
“American autoworkers should stand with them. That could just as easily be us. They’re there and we are here, but there’s no difference. Their struggle is our struggle. They all stood up, they did not waver and they fought for what they believed in.
“American workers can learn a lot from them. We take a stance for a while, like when we rejected the contract in 2015, but when we get threatened and things taken away, we give in. The workers in India are not doing that. That’s the kind of conviction we need. We need to stand up like them. You have to fight to the bitter end. …
“I read that a temporary worker makes $214 a month, half of what a full-time worker makes. That is horrible. They are billion-dollar corporations, and they don’t give us what we deserve—and we’re not supposed to stand up for our rights?
Sue, a worker at the General Motors assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, also spoke in support of the Maruti Suzuki workers. The Ingersoll factory was opened in 1989 as a joint venture between Suzuki and GM. Located southwest of Toronto, it was originally operated under the name Canadian Automotive Manufacturing, Inc. (CAMI). GM took full control of the plant in 2009 when Suzuki withdrew, and it expanded the plant in 2016 after it received a half a billion dollars in government tax breaks and other incentives.
“It’s my pleasure to speak up against the corporation. Suzuki used to have joint ownership of this plant with GM. We read the article about the Maruti Suzuki workers and sent the link to some friends in our industry who had also seen it shared on social media. We plan to print it and distribute it around the plant.
“Just this week GM unjustly fired some of the temporary part-time workers [TPTs]. Our management team has made standardized work impossible, yet they discipline and/or terminate workers based on their [managerial] failures.
“It is a sad reality when workers are attacked by the corporation, our own unions and the media as lazy, greedy autoworkers. The laborers’ ethics and morals are the focus of questioning and scrutiny while they turn a blind eye toward the blatantly unethical, and immoral operations by these same corporations in other countries where they exploit workers.”
Bruce, a retired autoworker at the General Motor Delta Township plant near Lansing, Michigan said, “We should be outraged by what is happening in India. We have the same interests as these workers.
“The courts are following the corporate line in the face of little evidence. I can’t believe they wanted the death sentence. They want to go ahead and apply this case as a rubber stamp around the world.
“There has to be some sort of discrimination going on. The judge even admitted they were having problems with the evidence. It reminds me a little of the situation in Flint in 1937 when they brought in the National Guard. They set up machine guns on top of the hill and goons were trying to intimidate workers.
“You won’t see anything about this case on any American media outside of the World Socialist Web Site. The American worker has been told forever that we don’t have classes, that there is upward mobility. It takes a realization that we have the same interests as workers in Japan, in Korea and everywhere.”
An article by Hindustan Times journalist Aman Sethi sheds important new light on the sham police investigation, prosecution case, and trial that has resulted in thirteen victimized Maruti Suzuki workers being sentenced to life in prison: here.
“The 13 workers are political prisoners”. South Asian filmmakers Rahul Roy and Prasanna Vithanage back campaign to free Maruti Suzuki workers: here.
UK: Strikers at Fujitsu support release of framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers: here.
Australian workers and youth speak out against Maruti Suzuki frame-up: here.
German auto workers oppose Maruti Suzuki frame-up: here.
So far over 1,000 people have signed the petition to the Indian government, with many leaving comments denouncing the frame-up and expressing their solidarity with the courageous workers. The signatories are from 33 countries on five continents: here.
This video from India says about itself:
Maruti workers had applied to register a new union, independent of the company’s management, on November 4, 2011. The union was registered February 29, 2012. It will represent over 2500 Maruti workers who went on strike three times last year demanding a union and improvements in their conditions of work. This public meeting, outside the company premises in Manesar in Haryana, late afternoon on March 1, 2012 was to declare this.
By Jerry White:
Support grows for framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers in India
21 March 2017
Popular anger is growing in the Manesar-Gurgaon industrial belt on the outskirts of Delhi, India’s capital city, after a court meted out life sentences to 13 workers who were framed up on murder charges after a July 2012 labor confrontation at the country’s largest car assembly plant.
Just hours after the sentences were read out in Gurgaon District Court, 30,000 workers at Maruti Suzuki plants and supplier factories in and around Manesar carried out a one-hour “tool down strike, ” despite management threats of an eight-day pay cut. The action halted production at the Maruti Suzuki assembly plant in Manesar, scene of the July 2012 confrontation, a second assembly plant in Gurgaon, Maruti Suzuki Powertrain, Suzuki Motorcycle India and two auto parts companies.
The six area unions that called Saturday’s strike have announced a March 23 protest rally in Manesar, in defiance of a ban on all gatherings of 5 or more people that authorities have imposed in Gurgaon until March 25, precisely because they fear mass worker opposition to the frame-up of the Maruti Suzuki workers.
The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU), formed by the Manesar plant workers in a rebellion against a company stooge union, also reports that plans are being made for an April 4 national day of protest.
MSWU President Ram Meher and the union’s eleven other executive members are among the 13 condemned to life imprisonment.
Advocate Rajendra Pathak, a defense attorney for some of the framed-up workers, denounced the sentences, telling a World Socialist Web Site reporter, “The judiciary is comprised of the people who have the mindset of the capitalists. The rich have all the means with them in this capitalist society, the judges too.”
Pathak said the workers will appeal their sentences and conviction in High Court. “There is no evidence on file to substantiate the charges of murder against the 13 convicted workers,” said Pathak. “But since the fight is against the capitalist society, I cannot say for sure what the outcome of such a case would be. It could be prolonged for years … and the 13 will be forced to stay in custody until the final judgment.”
Expressing the growing opposition of workers, a worker from a Maruti Suzuki feeder plant told the Hindustan Times: “Today it is Maruti, tomorrow it could be us in jail. We want our comrades to be released, but Maruti has already united workers more than any trade union could.”
In addition to Ram Meher, the others facing life imprisonment are Sandeep Dhillon, Ram Bilas, Sarabjeet Singh, Pawan Kumar, Sohan Kumar, Ajmer Singh, Suresh Kumar, Amarjeet, Dhanraj Bambi, Pradeep Gujjar, Yogesh and Jiyalal.
The workers are victims of a ruthless frame-up mounted by the Suzuki Corporation, the police and judicial authorities, with the full complicity of India’s principal political parties—the Congress Party and the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) has initiated an international defense campaign to oppose this travesty and demand the immediate release of the Maruti Suzuki workers. An online petition has already been signed by workers and defenders of democratic rights throughout the world.
The pretext for the frame-up was the death of human resource manager Awanish Kumar Dev on July 18, 2012, from asphyxiation during a fire that mysteriously erupted in the midst of a management-provoked altercation on the factory floor. There is absolutely no evidence that any worker, let alone member of the MWSU executive, had anything to do with the death of Dev, who was sympathetic to the workers and had even helped them register the MSWU on March 1, 2012.
The July 18 altercation began when a supervisor, using caste-based slurs, accosted a worker, Jiyalal, on the factory floor. When other workers sprang to his defence, private security guards, already heavily present in the factory, provoked a violent clash with the workers during which the fire broke out, gutting a section of the factory.
Jiyalal was the “prime accused” in the frame-up of the Maruti Suzuki workers and has been condemned along with the twelve MSWU executive members to life imprisonment.
In the wake of the July 18 altercation, the government and state apparatus, working in league with the automaker, unleashed a furious campaign of state repression aimed at smashing the MWSU and any resistance from workers. Police swept through workers’ living quarters, beating and arresting hundreds of workers based on lists of “suspects” supplied by Suzuki management. The company then locked down the factory and purged the workforce by firing and replacing 2,300 workers in August 2012.
This witch-hunt took place after more than a year of courageous struggle during which workers repeatedly mounted walkouts and sit-down strikes, successfully rebelled against a company stooge union and formed the MSWU to fight for their demands. Central to these are abolition of the hated Worker Contract System, which enables Suzuki to hire and fire thousands of low-paid temporary workers before they qualify for full-time positions. At present, “company temps,” who are on a seven-month contract and then laid off for five months, are paid 14,000 rupees a month (US $214)—less than half the salary of permanent workers, who earn Rs 35,000 (US$536) or more.
The MSWU’s interim leadership has issued a statement condemning the frame-up convictions and savage sentences as “anti-worker” and aimed at sowing “fear and terror among industrial workers in the country.” It noted that the prosecution’s final arguments “talked of the need of restoring ‘confidence’ of capital, and the prime minister’s initiative of inviting global investors for ‘Make in India’. The confidence of these foreign and national capitalists depend on one thing: a cheap and compliant labour force, so no unions or any raising of demands.”
The multinational auto company, meanwhile, is literally baying for the workers’ blood. Vikas Pahwa, counsel for Maruti Suzuki, told the Indian Express that the court “has sent a strong signal to labor workers and union members that they cannot take the law in their hands.” But the company, he added, will “challenge the judgment in the HC (High Court)” both because of the “inadequacy of the sentence against the convicts” and the court’s acquittal of 117 other workers.
The prosecution argued at last Friday’s sentencing hearing that all 13 defendants should hang. Instead, the judge gave the workers life sentences—that is, condemned them to a living hell in India’s brutal prison system.
Of the 18 other workers convicted in the case on lesser charges, including rioting and causing injury, four were sentenced to five years in prison and the other 14 to three years. After paying fines, the latter group were released due to time already served.
Those who have now been freed—like the 117 workers the court was forced to exonerate in its March 10 judgment—endured lengthy and brutal imprisonment for more than three, and in many cases four, years. A September 2012 investigation by the civil rights group, the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), found that the arrested workers were beaten, subjected to injurious leg-stretching, and submerged in dirty water for long durations.
Like tens of millions of other workers throughout Asia, the Maruti Suzuki workers are largely drawn from impoverished agricultural regions and are now subject to the most brutal exploitation by transnational corporations. They have repeatedly demonstrated a heroic determination to fight in the face of relentless corporate-government violence. Workers throughout the world must come to their aid and demand the immediate release of the jailed Maruti Suzuki workers and the vacating of all convictions.
Sign the “Free the framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers!” petition here.
There is not a shred of evidence against any of the 13 Maruti Suzuki workers sentenced to life in prison: here.