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Demand for the release of trade union leader Bhagwati Sahu

Please consider signing this petition for the release of Bhagwati Sahu:
http://www.change.org/petitions/release-trade-union-leader-bhagwati-sahu

Many of you have been following the tough struggle of the Chhattisgarh
Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee) against the giant cement
multinational Holcim in the cement plants of Chhattisgarh.

THIS IS A SPECIAL APPEAL TO JOIN US IN PETITTIONING THE GOVERNOR OF
CHHATTISGARH FOR THE RELEASE OF OUR YOUNG TRADE UNION LEADER AND
ELECTED JANPAD MEMBER – BHAGWATI SAHU – INCARCERATED IN BALODA BAZAR
SUB JAIL SINCE 18TH MAY 2011 IN A PATENTLY FALSE AND FABRICATED CASE
FOISTED BY THE AMBUJA-HOLCIM MANAGEMENT.

Comrade Bhagwati Sahu led the militant agitation of hundreds of
contract workers in the Ambuja- Holcim plant at Village Rawaan, Tehsil
Baloda Bazar, district Raipur and it was only after the struggle of
the CMM Union – Pragatisheel Cement Shramik Sangh that these contract
workers started getting even minimum wages and their proper PF dues
(earlier the company would deduct its own share also from the workers
wage and not even deposit it regularly!!)

He also led the struggles of peasants in the area against the
company’s encroachments on village commons, inadequate compensation,
the gross violation of the state’s Rehabilitation Policy in not
providing permanent jobs and the neglect of local youth in employment,
as well as excessive use of water earmarked for irrigation.

When on 18th February 2011, in conciliation meetings before the
Assistant Labour Commissioner at Raipur, the Ambuja- Holcim company
was warned that the licenses of contractors would be cancelled and it
was exhorted to take back retrenched contract workers on a dispute
raised by the Pragatisheel Cement Shramik Sangh, the company
retaliated against the Union leadership.

An incident of altercation between villagers and the notorious
Security Officer of Ambuja-Holcim YP Singh (against whom complaints
had already been lodged earlier by villagers and workers that he used
to brandish his pistol and threaten them), in the Rawaan village
market on 6th March 2011 provided the excuse. By a second FIR as an
afterthought, another Security Officer Nand Lal Choubey, filed a
complaint against Union leaders Bhagwati Sahu, Lakhan Sahu and two
other union activists implicating them in a case of ‘loot’ and
criminal assault. The Gram Sabha of Village Rawaan has given a written
resolution to the company that Bhagwati was never at the spot, and all
non-police witness deny his presence, yet he remains under arrest
since 18th May 2011.

The police under the influence of Holcim have claimed that Comrade
Bhagwati has “criminal antecedents” and has listed 18 cases against
him which turn out to be 5 cases listed over and over again – 4 cases
of Sections 107/116 Cr.P.C. and one under Section 341 (Chakka Jam) –
all for trade union activities. On this basis Justice TP Sharma of the
Chhattisgarh High Court refused him bail. Suprisingly and most
unfortunately, on 9th November 2011, the Supreme Court also declined
to interfere with this Order.

In the trial court the well tutored company witnesses are breaking
down under cross examination and there are contradictions,
exaggerations and impossibilities galore. The witnesses claim many
injuries of the complainant whereas the medical examination, conducted
with great promptitude, shows only one bruise under the eye; Rs 3500
of “loot” from a purse has become “bundles of notes”; as the story
unfolds of 4 security guards standing around at convenient distances
only to testify as eye witness and failing to intervene while their
officer is looted and beaten by 4 union leaders! One search witness –
who turns out to be another ‘loyal’ company employee – claims to have
chanced upon the police interrogating Bhagwati at the bus stand at 6am
in the morning when he went for a morning walk, where he managed, at a
distance, to overhear Bhagwati’s confession, and then of course
obediently went along to recover the weapon – a typical peasant’s
stick – from Bhagwati’s residence.

ON 10TH DECEMBER 2011, HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, HUNDREDS OF WORKERS AND
PEASANTS WILL GATHER AT BALODA BAZAR AND ALSO AT BHILAI TO SUBMIT A
PETITION TO THE GOVERNOR TO WITHDRAW THIS FALSE CASE AND RELEASE
BHAGWATI SAHU.

PLEASE JOIN US BY POSTING/ FAXING YOUR OWN PETITION OR BY SENDING TELEGRAMS TO:-
THE GOVERNOR, RAJ BHAVAN, RAIPUR, CHHATTISGARH
OR BY HANDING OVER YOUR PETITION AT CHHATTISGARH BHAVAN, NEW DELHI.

YOUR SOLIDARITY IS OUR GREATEST HOPE.

Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee)
C/o CMM Office, Labour Camp, Jamul, district Durg, Chhattisgarh.
Mobile – 08889572906 (Bhilai), 09826689317 (Raipur), 09926603877 (Bilaspur)