Free the Maruti Suzuki autoworkers

Indian ICFI supporters to hold a public meeting in Sriperumbudur

Indian supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) will hold a public meeting in Sriperumbudur, a global auto and electronic hub about 40 km from Chennai on December 10, as part of the ICFI’s campaign to free the Maruti Suzuki workers. In April, ICFI supporters organised a demonstration at the Sriperumbudur bus terminal against the Maruti Suzuki frame-up.

Thirteen workers from Japanese-owned Maruti Suzuki car assembly plant at Manesar, near Gurgaon, in the northern Indian state of Haryana, have been sentenced to life imprisonment on bogus murder charges. Eighteen other workers from the plant have been jailed for between three to five years on lesser charges.

Imprisonment of the 31 workers is the outcome of a frame-up jointly carried out by the company and Indian police and judicial authorities, with the full collaboration of India’s ruling Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress Party. The Manesar workers were targeted because of their involvement in a series of militant struggles, including strikes, plant occupations and demonstrations, opposing the slave labour conditions at the plant.

Maruti Suzuki and the police seized on a management-provoked altercation on July 18, 2012, which resulted in a fire and the death of human resources manager Awanish Kumar Dev, to launch their witch-hunt. Following that incident, 148 workers were arrested and tried on various bogus charges. These included murder, arson, assault of company officials and damage to the plant. Thirty-one workers were convicted and sentenced last March.

The ruling elite is attempting to use the frame-up and jailing of the Maruti Suzuki workers to intimidate workers and send a clear signal to local and foreign investors about its commitment to maintain cheap labour conditions throughout India.

The ICFI’s campaign in defence of the Maruti Suzuki workers is aimed at mobilising the independent political strength of the international working class and to secure the release of all the framed-up autoworkers. The ICFI calls on workers in India, and throughout South Asia and internationally, to join the struggle to defeat the frame-up and demand the immediate release of all the jailed Maruti Suzuki workers.

Sriperumbudur meeting will discuss the significance of this campaign and the political program and perspective on which it is based. We invite workers, youths, intellectuals and WSWS readers to attend the public meeting in Sriperumbudur.

Meeting speeches will be given in Tamil and English and streamed live via Facebook. A summary of the speeches will also be available in Hindi.

Date and time: Sunday, December 10, at 10 a.m.
Venue: Kalyana Mandapam, Thandonti Amman Temple
Near the Sriperumbudur Bus Terminal