Contract Workers
On 7 May the striking workers of Hedgewar Hospital, Delhi won the week-old struggle. Around four dozen contract workers of Hedgewar Hospital were unlawfully terminated by the hospital administration as the work contract was renewed. All the terminated workers started their strike and a sit-in dharna inside the hospital premises. The strike was led by 'Delhi State Government Hospital Contract Workers Union'. A delegation of workers had met Labour Minister Gopal Rai on May 2 and then again on May 4. The labour minister unlawfully refused to have a dialogue with Union representatives. Mr Gopal Rai gave a letter to the hospital administration and asked them 'to look into the matter', rather than clearly directing the hospital administration to reinstate the terminated workers. It is noteworthy that it was Delhi Government's interim order to all institutions under the state government not to terminate any contract worker 'till further instructions'. However, this interim order has proved to be a 'nautanki', now characteristic of the political clowns of AAP and its government, as a lot of contract workers have been terminated since then, including the home guards and hospital workers.

When the labour minister Gopal Rai refused to implement his own directive, the striking workers of Hedgewar Hospital intensified their movement. On May 7, they continued their strike and sit-in dharna while a delegation of the Union led by Shivani, the legal adviser of the union, met the health minister Mr Satyendra Jain. He also tried to dodge the responsibility at first. However, the Kejriwal Government had sensed by now that this movement of hospital workers could spread to other hospitals as well. As a result, the Kejriwal government finally gave in to the pressure and ordered the hospital administration to reinstate all the sacked workers. Thus, the strike was won. It was the victory of the organization and unity of the workers under the leadership of Delhi State Government Hospital Contract Workers Union (DSGHCWU). Shivani, a member of the union, said ‘This struggle will continue as the workers are still on contract, though they are doing work of perennial nature. As per the law of the land, it is illegal to hire workers doing perennial nature of work on contract. The Kejriwal Government is trying to betray the contract workers of Delhi. However, the workers are not ready to forget what they had been promised by the AAP during the elections. Workers of several areas and occupations have already boycotted the Kejriwal Government and the AAP protesting the brutal lathi charge on thousands of contract workers assembled outside the Delhi Secretariat on March 25. If the Kejriwal government continues to betray the working class of Delhi, it is going to pay dearly in the coming municipal elections’.


Behind Bars
As confirmed by the newspapers and further affirmed by civil rights activists, Maoist intellectual and writer Mr K Murali and another activist Mr C P Ismail are shown arrested by the Maharashtra ATS in Pune allegedly from a housing colony. But contrary to the news paper reports, civil libertarians confirm that Mr K Murali was undergoing treatment in one of the hospitals in Pune and was detained from there. Whatever one could decipher from the little exchange that he had with the media, it is clear that Mr K Murali, a senior citizen (62) was arrested while he was undergoing treatment. C P Ismail is 29 years old. The date of the arrest is still not clear though it is reported that the ATS arrested him on Friday and then produced him before the court to be remanded in police custody for the next 7 days. It is a matter of grave concern that Mr Murali who is a heart patient and had undergone a heart surgery before is not being allowed to be treated. Rather the court has left him in police custody where there is every possibility that his health can further deteriorate.

In the meantime, Murali and Ismail have so far not been allowed to reach out to their lawyers. Like every other political prisoner normally slapped with the draconian UAPA, Mr Murali and Mr Ismail will be no exception to the lawful lawlessness of this worst ever legislation which proves the burden of proof on the accused while leaving ample space for the police to indulging every kind of impunity. In such a scenario it is highly unlikely that the police will let him to undertake his medical treatment.

As a Maoist intellectual K Murali is the author of many books and articles on the politico-economic and historic trajectories that contributed to the constitution of the social formation that is Kerala.

His most discussed work is Land, Caste and Bondage (Bhoomi, Jati, Bandhanam) in Malayalam. He was the editor of 'A World to Win' and 'Massline', two theoretical and political magazines that analyzed the local and international scenario from a Maoist perspective.
Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners,
New Delhi


Chhatradhar’s Sentence
Chhatradhar Mahato, the leader of the Jangalmahal movement and convenor of the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) has been given the sentence of life imprisonment. He was arrested in 2009 by a posse of policement who, posing as journalists, received the opportunity to meet him. Before going into hiding, he shared the dias with Mamata Banerjee at a large mass meeting. His brother, Sasadhar Mahato, was killed in a fake encounter. Immediately after Mamata's ascent to power, the police trapped Suchitra, Sasadhar's wife, and a 'surrender' was staged. This happened after Kishenji's 'encounter' death. Many of Chhatradhar's other colleagues on the PCAPA joined the Trinamul Congress and were amply rewarded. But Chhatradhar had to remain in prison, presumably because he refused to be a hireling Trinamul Congress and even went as far as to fight the polls from prison as an independent candidate.

Common sense suggests that if Chhatradhar was guilty of crime against the state, so was Mrs Mamata Banerjee herself and those PCAPA men who later became TMC loyalists. But Mamata Banerjee is in power, and she would not brook any disloyalty to her on the part of her earlier fraters, and conversely, would go out of her way to reward loyalists. The subservient police forces are only too willing to oblige the ruling elites. One may recall the sentence of life imprisonment on Dr Binayak Sen, which drew nationwide condemnation.
The entire episode speaks of the double faced and treacherous behaviour of Mrs Mamata Banerjee and her party—Trinamul Congress but happily enough, Chhatradhar has not broken down and reiterated his confidence on the people of Jangalmahal. It remains to be seen how the functionaries of the Bandi Mukti Committee, some of whom have given up all sense of self respect and have become Mamata loyalists for the sake of official position and pelf, react to this incident.
A Reader, Kolkata


Aruna Shanbaug
Young victim-nurse of sexual assault at KEM hospital Aruna Shanbaug breathed her last at 08.30 am in morning of 18lh May 2015 after fighting the trauma by being in coma for last 42 years. Country should salute her and generation of nurses at the hospital treating her continuously like their own family-member, by instituting an award in name of Aruna Shanbaug.

It is an irony and blot on Indian democracy that the culprit of Aruna Shanbaug namely the ward-boy some Sohanlal Valmiki as referred in media is roaming free. Nothing can improve till the system including legal and judicial may be so tightened that culprits may get earliest and strict-most punishments to be as deterrent for others against wrong-doings. Students passing legal examinations should mandatorily take an oath that they will not take up cases where they themselves are sure that accused is indeed a culprit.
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi


Time-zone controversy
It refers to Northeast MPs Forum (NEMPF) headed by Lok Sabha member PA Sangma now demanding separate time-zone for the region citing a time-difference of 127 minutes between eastern and western zones of the country. Earlier Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gagoi once had decided to go for a time-zone separated by rest of the country by one hour after the genuine demand of north-eastern states was not taken care of by the central government. System is likely to cause unwanted confusion in a country like India which is not tuned in for a system of dual time-zone. Demand of north-eastern states was very much justified for better utilisation of day-time energy when sun-rise and sun-set are comparatively much earlier there than rest of the country.

Union government should immediately take remedial measures by advancing time-zone by half an hour for the entire country, also as a compromise-formula for a uniform time-zone for whole of the country. Rather Indian government should approach international authorities deciding time-zones so that time-zone for a country may compulsorily be deviated by full one hour from GMT. Presently India has a time zone of GMT+5.30 hours which should be GMT+6 hours as also recommended by National Institute of Advanced Studies.

India should also take lead in taking up matter of metric-measure of time with concerned international authorities. When all other measures are converted in metric-system from earlier haphazard systems, metric-measure of time has not yet been introduced. Metric unit of time should be introduced with a complete day divided in 10 metric hours instead of present 24 hours. Each metric hour may have 100 metric minutes with a metric minute having 100 metric seconds thereby making a complete day of 100000 metric seconds instead of present 86400 seconds.
Subhas Chandra Agrawal, Delhi


State Boundaries
Bill allowing land-exchange between India and Bangladesh though of four decades of Indo-Bangladesh pact signed between the then Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh Indira Gandhi and Mujibur Rahman respectively.

But irony is that much required land-exchange between states of India could not get affected causing a lot of trouble. It is surprising that the Commission recommending state-boundaries made such unnatural recommendations where Delhi and Uttar Pradesh (UP) have to be on loggerheads for some peculiar type of state-boundaries in an area like Abu Fazal Enclave (Delhi) where alternate streets in the colony are in UP and Delhi with even Kalindi Kunj park on Delhi-side of river Yamuna falling in UP. Practicability demands that river Yamuna should have been the boundary-line with complete Abu Fazal Enclave being in Delhi. Even recent meeting between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and UP Chief Minister could not resolve the long-pending issue.

Similar is situation in Jhansi which by all accounts to be culturally in proximity with Madhya Pradesh (MP), while the city is in UP. Even postal-department can verify that people address Jhansi to be in MP. Rivers, major highways, important rail-lines should be state-boundaries for which Union government should intervene for small corrections for land-exchange between states.
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi

Vol. 47, No. 48, June 7 - 13, 2015