Indian ICFI supporters to picket for release of Maruti Suzuki workers

Indian supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) are holding a picket to demand freedom for the jailed Maruti Suzuki workers. It will be at 4 p.m. on April 17 in Sriperumbudur, a major auto manufacturing hub about 40 km from Chennai, capital of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The picket is part of the international campaign launched by the ICFI.

Thirteen workers from the Maruti Suzuki car assembly plant at Manesar in the northern Indian state of Haryana have been sentenced to life imprisonment on fraudulent murder charges. Another 18 workers from the same factory were sentenced to between three and five years’ imprisonment on lesser charges.

These sentences are the outcome of a monstrous frame-up by the Suzuki corporation and the police and judicial authorities, with the full collaboration of India’s main big business parties—the ruling Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) and the Congress Party. The workers were targeted for their role in a series of militant struggles, including strikes, occupations and protests, against the slave labour conditions at the plant.

The company and the police seized on a management-provoked altercation on 12 July 2012 at the factory, and a fire that resulted in the death of Awanish Kumar Dev, a company human resources manager. Thirteen workers were charged and convicted of murder, but no evidence linked them to the fire and Dev’s death.

The verdict seeks to intimidate workers and to reassure Suzuki and other investors that India authorities will ruthlessly crush all working class resistance to the brutal conditions to which workers are subjected.

We urge workers in Sriperumbudur, Oragadam and other Special Economic Zones in the area to join the April 17 picket. Show your class solidarity with the jailed Maruti Suzuki workers. The protest will strengthen the ICFI’s campaign for the immediate release of the framed-up workers and the quashing of the bogus guilty verdicts.

Date and time: Monday April 17, 4 p.m.
Venue: Near Sriperumbudur bus terminus