The protest plan of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union on Thursday ended with an whimper, as heavy police presence at Sector 29 ensured that the rally never reached Manesar.
Contrary to the tall claims made by the union members, the affair tuned out to be a timid one, with only 200 people turning up for the event. However, members of several Leftist organisations showed up.
As the police dissuaded the congregation from violating Section 144 of the CrPC and carrying on their march to Manesar, a five-member delegation of the union met the district magistrate, Shekhar Vidyarthi, with a memorandum.
“We met the district magistrate and urged him to grant permission to stage a protest in Manesar. Also, we requested him to intervene and mediate in our struggle with the Maruti Suzuki management and the government,” said Bhim Rao, general secretary of the workers’ union at Hero Motocorp Ltd.
“They raised the old issues regarding reconciliation and that Maruti Suzuki authorities should come and talk. The labour department, through which it can be resolved, is already looking into the matter. Also, the matter is sub-judice and so the district administration is not left with much to do,” Vidyarthi said.
As the gathering stood up to commence their march from Leisure Valley Park in Sector 29, police and district authorities confronted the protesters warning them of arrests for violating Section 144 of the CrPC.
There were heated exchanges between the police and the union leaders and later the labour leaders decided to take out a candle march within the park.
“The police and administration did not let us go out of the park. They invoked Section 144 to stop us but we pleaded with them to let us take the procession to places which were not covered under the restraining order, but they did not even allow us that,” said labour leader Rakhi Sehgal, member of New Trade Union Initiative.
Candles were lit and the protestors took rounds of the park shouting anti-administration slogans with the photograph of Awanish Dev, the Maruti Suzuki official who was slain in the violence last year.
“We want a fair judicial inquiry into the events of last year,” said Mahavir, a member of the provisional core committee of the union.