A coalition of many Human Rights organizations,trade Unions, lawyers, journalists, activists belonging to various political parties of Odisha are fighting for the repeal of a draconian bill passed by the Odisha government. They are pressurizing the Governor to refuse to sign on the Bill.
On 28 August 2012,Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik government passed a new Bill for the establishment of a specialized force to protect industrial units – the Odisha Industrial Security Force Bill-2012. “Due to rapid industrialization in the State and various security threats to industries, vital installations and other important establishments, there is an urgent necessity of raising a specialized force like the Odisha Industrial Security Force” said the Minister Raghunath Mohanty who was piloting the Bill.
The Bill was passed without any debate through voice vote amidst uproar by Opposition Congress members. Congress leaders told the press that the government did not bother to have any discussion on the amendments suggested by them. They thus indirectly clarified that they are not against the Bill itself!
The Bill envisages raising a specialized force, namely, the Odisha Industrial Security Force to provide adequate and foolproof security to State-owned industrial undertakings and private industrial units.As per the provisions of the Bill, a special Force under the Inspector General of Police will be formed. Any industrial establishment, government or private, can then requisition the help of this Force. That industrial establishment will be paying for the services of this Force. However once such a Force is employed in an industrial establishment, it will be under complete control of the establishment. The Force personnel will have the power to arrest a person without any warrant and even without any order from a magistrate or court! The Bill also empowers the Force to search a person or somebody’s house even without a warrant! These personnel thus will be even more powerful than the State government’s police themselves, and that too under complete control of the industrial establishment! Immunity will be provided to the members of the Force for their acts during discharge of their duty and no court shall take cognizance of an offence against any member of the force without prior sanction of the State government! This Force thus will have more powers than the State government police while enjoying all the immunity from prosecution.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar denounces this draconian fascist Bill passed by the Odisha government. This is one more attempt by the Indian State to stifle the voice of working people against severe exploitation. In Odisha,lakhs of adivasis and also workers of various industrial units are fighting for their right to life against big Indian corporate houses like the Tatas,Birlas,Vedanta, Jindals and MNCs like POSCO. The Odisha State government has entered into various agreements with corporate houses guaranteeing safety of their enterprises. For example Clause 17 of the memorandum of understanding between the State Government of Odisha and M/S Posco dated 22nd June 2005 reads “…The Government of Orissa will take action to provide overall security as per applicable law, as may be required to all parts of the Project during the operation phase. All necessary steps in this regard including setting up of police stations, if required, would be taken by Government of Orissa”.
As per such agreements, the government of Odisha has established many police stations inside the campuses of industrial units. If common citizens want to reach such police stations to register complaints against the industrial establishments they are unable to do so, since they have to first pass through the security of the industrial units since these police stations are located inside the industrial units! Now with the new draconian Bill, the government wants to give up even the pretence of ensuring public safety.
On the one hand millions of working people, peasants andadivasis are fighting hard in defence of their rights supported by various rights organizations;while on the other hand, Indian big capitalists are wanting to aggressively implement their program of liberalization and privatization. The struggles of the working people are putting spokes in the plans of the ruling classes. That is why they have now ordered their trusted political honchos, represented by various parliamentary parties in the Centre and in State politics, to aggressively attack the rights of the working people. On this issue all these parliamentary parties speak in one voice and march to the same tune!
Through draconian acts like Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act 2012 they want to make it even more difficult for working people to organize, while at the same time they want to give more legal powers to the big capitalists to protect their exploitative empires by deploying private militia.The whole world has witnessed how the fighting militant workers of Maruti Suzuki are being brutally attacked by the Indian State. The world is also witnessing the fact that these attacks have in fact further increased the resolve of working people and further increased their unity. Mazdoor Ekta Lehar has no doubt that Indian ruling classes will not succeed in their attempt to crush the working class of India. We call upon all the working people and their organizations to unitedly oppose all such Acts and Bills with a spirit of “An attack on one is an attack on all”.