HARYANA: Sarv Karamchari Sangh up in arms against Privatisation, ESMA

Sabita Malik

NEARLY 40,000 Sarv Karamchari Sangh (SKS) employees in Haryana, geared up to march to legislative assembly in Chandigarh on September 10, the second day of the assembly sessions, against privatisation of public sector services and imposing ESMA on striking roadways and health employees.
The protestors marched from Yavnika Park to Housing Board Chowk, where the police had set up barricades. The employees staged dharna at the Housing Board Chowk and shouted slogans against the Haryana government, from 2 to 5 pm.
Various unions expressed their solidarity to the dharna and addressed the employees. SKS president, Dharambir Phogat asked the government to come forward for negotiation and resolve the issues. But the government did not take any notice and ignored the issues of lakhs of employees. After long patience of employees, the SKS decided to march towards the assembly and tried to cross the barricades.

The government ordered the police to take all measures to disperse the employees and without a warning, they used water cannons and tear gas on the protestors along with lathicharge. As many as 26 shells of tear gas were fired. Many employees, including some retired employees were beaten, and some employees even suffered fractured bones.
State general secretary of Haryana Vidhyalaya Adhyapak Sangh, Jagroshan, was brutally beaten. Cases have been registered against five leaders including president and general secretary of SKS Haryana.
On the other hand, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed the regularisation policies which affects over one lakh of non-regular employees serving in various departments. This High Court decision directly affects 4,654 employees who have been regularised under these policies. After strong protests, the chief minister agreed to bring an Act protecting the services of affected employees.

Ultimately the government framed the draft of the Act and sent it to the SKS. The SKS Haryana gave many suggestions for amendments. Instead of passing the bill in the assembly session, the Haryana government ditched the employees and went for Special Leave Petition (SLP), just two days before the session.
Nagar Palika employees went on an indefinite strike in May when most of their demands have been conceded by the government. But now it is denying its promises and has gone back on implementing the decision.
On the other hand, the anti-employee policies of the government are affecting the ever growing non-regular employees adversely. The employee unions are agitating and new associations are joining SKS in its struggle.
Chandigarh police registered cases against five SKS leaders under IPC sections 147,148,149,188,332,427 and 506. The vehicle used for stage hosting was taken by the police and generator has been taken under police custody.

VIDHAN SABHA MARCH
On April 29, the SKS organised a state-level rally at Jind when the decision to march to the assembly was taken. District and state-level meetings were held to mobilise the workers for the rally.
Departmental unions discussed the agenda in meetings and decided to take part in the march. Many non-regular employees' associations joined SKS in the struggle. The scorching heat could not affect the enthusiasm of employees. They covered five km-length in one hour.
When the procession was passing in front of directorate office, the employees of directorate welcomed and participated in it. Patkas and caps of different colours were worn by employees. This showed their courage of participation in the march.
As the opposition leaders came to know about the lathicharge, use of water cannon and tear gas, they raised the issue in the assembly. The leaders of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Congress raised the issues of imposing ESMA on striking employees, their arrests, terminations and the indifferent attitude towards employees’ demands. But the government had no satisfactory answer except sophistry.
The CITU Haryana supported the march and expressed their solidarity by direct participation in thousands. CITU president Satbir Singh addressed the dharna and was also injured during the lathicharge.

SKS has decided to build more aggressive and strong movement against the undemocratic conduct of the government. Protests were organised at district-level with thousands of employees.
All employees of Haryana would offer mass court arrest against promulgation of ESMA on Health and Roadways employees’ agitation on September 18. A ‘Pol Kholo Abhiyan’ will be launched from September 20 to October 20 in the constituencies of ten cabinet ministers, followed by laying siege of the houses of the ministers of October 23.  On October 2, satyagraha will be observed from 9-5 in all the districts.

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