Vol. XLIII No. 17 April 28, 2019

MAHARASHTRA: Police Issue Externment Orders To CITU Leader Ahead of Elections

THE Maharashtra police, on April 17, has issued externment orders to CITU state leader Dr Dhondi Ram Limbaji Karad, that prevents him from entering three districts in the state including Nasik, Thane and Ahmednagar, ahead of elections. Calling the action “utterly vindictive”, Tapan Sen, general secretary of CITU wrote to the state chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, on April 18, seeking immediate intervention and repealment of the orders.

Karad, CITU national vice president and president of Maharashtra state committee has been leading the Nasik Workers’ Union and has been heading its trade union activities. He was served the externment order under section 51 of Maharashtra Police Regulations. Condemning the act, Tapan Sen, in his letter said that it was an utterly vindictive action taken by the concerned police administration at the behest of handful of industry-owners, against thousands of poor industrial workers targeting their leader for taking up the legitimate demands of the workers.

The charges against Karad, narrated in four-page long externment order are mostly related to organising morcha of workers, agitations etc., on their demands and complaints of labour law violations, all of which are very much within the ambit of the constitutional rights of the workers and their trade unions, Tapan Sen wrote. He pointed, “The narrative of these activities in the concerned order is packaged with some manufactured complaints of threats of violence supported by statement of one unnamed ‘secret witness’ by the concerned police authority, quite obviously at the instance of the employers’ lobby.”

Tapan Sen in his letter to the chief minister and the governor, said, “The exercise for externment  of a CITU and CPI(M) leader has been undertaken at a time when the country is in the process of parliamentary elections and CPI(M) candidate is contesting from Dindori constituency within which Nasik region also falls; the motive may be to disrupt the electoral campaign by the Left.”      

Urging Fadnavis to go through the details of pending cases against Karad, Tapan Sen said that they are mostly on fabricated charges. “Since 1990, numerous cases were foisted on Karad but none can be proved and in many cases he got acquitted. During the same period, numerous agreements/settlements were arrived at as per Industrial Disputes Act between the management of various industries and the CITU unions under the leadership of Karad,” he pointed.

“During the same time span, neither the police administration nor the labour department took any action in addressing the gross violations of all labour laws, particularly in respect of Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, Minimum Wages Act, EPF and ESI related legislations etc.,” Tapan Sen wrote.

“In such a background an extra-pro-active initiative to target Dr Karad and other union officials based on the statement made by the employers lobby speaks volumes about the bias and vindictive intent of the local administration,” he stressed.

Vehemently protesting the repressive step taken by the police, Tapan Sen urged upon the chief minister to “rescind such externment order forthwith while prevailing upon the local administration to act democratically and impartially, to ensure pursuit of the democratic and trade union rights of the workers who are always at the receiving end and suppressed despite their dedicated service to nation in generating wealth.”