Brutal attack on workers in IIT Mandi by the goons of Contractor

The process of construction of IIT in Himachal Pradesh is going on in Kamaand area of district Mandi since September 2013. Presently around 650 workers are involved in this process since the beginning of process of construction no labour laws are being followed in this premier institute. Almost 2 years have gone and statutory and mandatory provisions have not been implemented. The role of state govt, District Administration and labour department has been under questions as these all three agencies remained mute spectators to execute the law of the land. Rather these all agencies have been in connivance with the construction company namely supreme construction company and petty contractors.

This is evident from the fact that despite rising of the dispute by the workers with labour deptt. And submitting memoranda to Distt. Administration, no effort was done by the executing agencies to deliver justice to workers. In this background, the workers had no, other option but to launch agitation and initiate struggle. The workers stated gate meetings and protest demonstrations to achieve their demands of implementation of labour of state and centre once again did not pay any heed to workers demands.

In this background, the workers were forced to go on strike to fulfill their demands on 13th June 2015. According to plan the workers were holding protest demonstrations peacefully everyday. But since 16th June 2015 new situation emerged in IIT Kamand campus as the movement of shooters, goons and bouncer with loaded weapons started creating fear psychosis in workers and threatened them that if they don’t halt their strike then they will have to face dire consequence. The IIT kamand workers union affiliated with CITU decided to hold demonstration on 19th June 2015 in District headquarter Mandi. The workers procession went on to D.C office Shimla and met Distt administration including D.C and S.P Mandi and handed over them memorandum stating the chronology of events and untoward atmosphere being made by the company and its contractor Rajeev Sharma and also demanded implementation of labour laws, the amount of Rs. 24 lacs collected from workers and not deposited with provident fund organization and balance payment of workers be given.

In the morning of 20th June at around 10:15 a.m. when the workers were gathering for protest demonstration, suddenly the hired goons of contractor started firing bullets on workers in which union President Sunder Lal, Vice President Gumat Ram, General Secretary Gulab Chand and 2 others got serious injuries who are still admitted in Mandi Zonal Hospital and referred to PGI Chandigarh, As the bullets being fired, the workers and native residents reacted and seeing the wrath of people, the goons ran away and slipped down downside the hill in which 4 goons lost their lives and few got injured. The hired goons were staying in Guest House just adjacent to Police Chowki Incharge and Police personnel did not initiate any action against the hired goons from Punjab and contractor. This whole episode has once again exposed the unholy nexus of contractors, administration and state govt. The five bouncers who were shifted from Mandi to PGI Chandigarh escaped from the hospital.

The CITU state committee organized state wide demonstration on 22nd June 2015 and demanded blacklisting of Company and contractor, Filing a case of attempt to murder against contractor Rajeev Sharma, Director IIT and Police Chowki Incharge Kamaand, withdrawing false cases against workers, sacking Police chowki Incharge, implementation of labour laws and stopping DGP Himachal Pradesh from making irresponsible statements. The state committee of CITU has held the state govt. responsible for the act. Meanwhile the state committee of CPI (M) has constituted an enquiry committee to enquire the incident. The Mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation Com. Sanjay Chauhan will be Chairperson and other members are Com. Kuldeep Tanwar (State Sectt Member), Com. Tikender Singh Panwar (Deputy Mayor MC Shimla), Com. Prem Gauttam(State Sectt. Member) Com. Bhupender Singh (Party Secretary, Mandi Distt.) and Advocate Sanjeev Bhushan. The fact finding committee will visit the IIT campus on 24th June and will place the report in state committee scheduled to be held on 26th -27th June 2015.

Onkar Shad