The dismissed Maruti workers will begin an indefinite sit-in demonstration and hunger strike on July 18 in Manesar against the alleged anti-worker policies of the Maruti Suzuki India Limited and the Haryana Government. The protest will coincide with the anniversary of the violence at the Maruti plant last year. The decision was taken by the workers, who have given a call of “Manesar Chalo” , at the general body meeting of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union (MSWU) here on Sunday.

“July 18 will mark a year of our struggle against exploitation and repression. While earlier from June 2011 we have been forced to struggle against the anti-worker policies of the management of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., we have also had to struggle against the countless instances of the entire government machinery colluding with the management to repress our voice and interests. The day also marks a year behind bars for our 147 brothers. Not a single one of them has been granted bail either in the lower court or the High Court,” said a press statement issued by the Provisional Working Committee of the MSWU.

The statement further said that July 18 would also mark a year of 2,300 workers being forced out of their jobs without any enquiry. It said the action has left their families devastated economically and socially and all this has happened because they dared to commit the “mere ‘crime’ of raising their voice for their legitimate rights”.

The day also marks a year of a complete ban on conduct of sit-in demonstrations, rallies or even pamphlet distribution in the industrial area of Manesar. Stating that such actions were “within the ambit of our democratic rights”, the workers in their statement said after the 57-day dharna and eight-day hunger strike in Kaithal, they and their family members and sympathisers were brutally lathi-charged on May 18-19 and as many as 111 of them were arrested. Of those arrested, they said, 10 workers and trade unionists and sympathisers still languish in Kaithal Jail. “We are now not even being allowed space to put up a dharna under the pretext of this being against public interest,” said the statement.