AICCTU's Jail Bharo:

Thousands of Workers Courted Arrest

Responding to the call of All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), thousands of workers courted arrest on 2 Sep to protest the UPA govt.'s anti-worker, pro-corporate, pro-MNC budget.

In Delhi , more than two hundred workers led by AICCTU General Secretary Swapan Mukherjee, National Secretary N.M. Thomas, Delhi State Secretary Santosh Rai and R.A.P. Singh courted arrest following a protest meeting at Parliament Street police station. Speakers lambasted the UPA Government for conspiring with the BJP to pass the Budget without a word of debate. They said, “Even as the Congress and the BJP are hand-in-glove on economic issues, for public consumption, they are shadow- boxing on the issue of secularism. Emboldened by the smooth passage of Finance Bill, the govt. has come out with a Foreign Trade policy which intends to turn India into a dumping ground of rejected foreign goods and technology and at the same time, in the name of increasing exports, to develop special economic zones devoid of all labour laws.”

Strongly criticizing the budget, speakers said that despite opposition by left trade unions and parties, this first budget of UPA govt. has completely ignored the major issues of working class like making adequate budgetary allocations for extending social security and enacting legislation for the workers of the unorganised sector and agricultural labourers. The priorities of the UPA govt. have been exposed by their very first budget: instead of meeting the demand of working people to restore the EPF interest rate to 12%, the govt. has further slashed it to 8.5%, and at the same time chosen to grant concessions to share-brokers on Securities Transaction Tax to the tune of 6300 crore rupees.

In West Bengal , nearly a thousand workers led by CPI(ML) Polit Bureau member D.P. Buxi and AICCTU national Secretary Basudev Bose courted arrest in Kolkata.

In Assam , five hundred workers led by Subhash Sen courted arrest in Guwahati. Workers of Power Workers' Union also joined the strike.

In Maharashtra , more than two hundred workers joined a mass meeting which was addressed among others by AICCTU National secretary Uday Bhatt.

In Bihar , hundreds of workers and employees led by AICCTU Secretary R.N. Thakur courted arrest in Patna . More than two hundred people led by Surendra Singh were arrested in Muzaffarpur.

In Tamilnadu, more than two hundred workers led by AICCTU Working President S. Kumarsamy courted arrest in Chennai. Workers also courted arrest and protest dharnas in Tirunelvelli, Kanchivaram, Pudukottai, Thiruvallur, Sirkazi and Thiruchengode.

In Jharkhand, more than five hundred workers led by AICCTU Vice-President Tarun Sarkar courted arrest in Ranchi . Nearly three hundred workers courted arrest at Dhanbad.

In Rajasthan, two hundred people led by AICCTU Vice-President Srilata Swaminathan courted arrest at Jaipur. A dharna was also organised at Jhunjhunu.

In Uttar Pradesh, more than a hundred people including employees of Municipal Corporation held a protest demonstration and courted arrest at Allahabad . A protest march led by AICCTU State Secretary Dinkar Kapur was held at Kanpur , a protest dharna was held at Lucknow , and a dharna at Varanasi . Nearly five hundred people participated in a demonstration at Robertsganj in Sonebhadra district which was led by UP Khet Mazdoor Sabha leader Ramnarayan Gond.