Archive for the ‘Student Politics’ Category

JNU students expelled for protesting worker exploitation – The Facts

July 4, 2007

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JNU students expelled for protesting worker exploitation – The Facts

In November it came to light that some 15 construction labourers on the campus were laid off work because they had demanded Rs. 70 as opposed to the Rs. 65 per day that they had been getting. Shocked by the fact that this wage was far less than the minimum wage (then Rs. 127 in Delhi), the Students’ Union and several other students had taken up a campaign to ensure minimum wages. Despite the fact that JNU’s own rules and regulations state that JNU authorities are responsible for ensuring payment of minimum wage to workers – including workers employed on construction sites – as well as for ensuring maintenance of muster rolls, display of wage rates on display boards at work sites, JNU authorities consistently shrugged off their responsibility as principal employers. In November and December, students took the initiative of running a community kitchen for laid off workers on campus – an initiative in which the teaching community too took a lot of interest.

Subsequently, several times, students themselves had to ensure payment of minimum wages through their physical presence and intervention. For months, students kept up the sustained and systematic campaign – unearthing documents that showed that not only construction labourers sub-contracted by CPWD, but even mess workers employed directly by JNU were being employed on contracts that stated far less than minimum wages. On February 19, when students’ posters on the subject of minimum wages were torn off from the Administrative Block at the direction of the Registrar, students began to protest, demanding a meeting to discuss the issue of enforcing minimum wage laws on the campus. After several hours an impasse developed; students surrounded the Registrar’s car demanding that he come out and talk; and the Registrar refused to leave his car. This impasse continued for some four hours after which the students eventually broke it and began a hunger strike.

The JNU Students Union Council subsequently adopted a resolution expressing regret for the gherao of the Registrar and reiterating the students’ concern for workers’ rights on campus. Subsequently 9 students including JNUSU office bearers, as well as all Karamchari Association Office Bearers, were suspended. Following a long agitation, suspensions were eventually withdrawn, with each of the suspended students submitting letters endorsing the JNUSU’s resolution of regret. This resolution was also upheld by the University General Body Meeting (UGBM) of the students. In light of the fact that the JNUSU had accepted collective responsibility and expressed regret, the UGBM had categorically demanded that the Proctorial Enquiry initiated into the incident be stopped, as continuing it would amount to a witch-hunt of individuals who had participated in a protest led by the elected JNUSU. Following this UGBM mandate, students did not participate in the Proctorial Enquiry.

On 30 May, in the middle of the summer vacations, the Proctor’s Office issued show-cause notices to 11 students (9 of whom were previously suspended, including two more students). These include the JNUSU Preswident, General Secretary and Joint Secretary. These show cause notices inform that the Proctorial Enquiry into the gherao of the Registrar is complete, and various charges stand proved against them, and asks them to respond by June 15 why action not be taken against them. Recently, 7 students have been rusticated and placed out of bounds; one student who was a terminal (MA) student has been placed out of bounds, and three JNUSU office bearers fined Rs. 2000 each.

This renewed action against students, in a matter which the JNUSU had sought to resolve through dialogue, reeks of retribution. The attempt seems to be to penalise and silence students who have been raising the issue of workers’ minimum wages.

Even on Feb. 19 the sole concern of the students was the extremely genuine issue of prolonged violation of workers’ minimum wages and rights on campus. This issue remains a burning issue even today: construction workers are still paid far, far below the minimum wage (the prevailing wage rate is Rs. 80 while the revised minimum wage is Rs. 158); there are neither muster rolls nor mandatory display boards at the worksites; workers even now fear to make complaints for fear they will lose employment, as has been the case in the past. In the wake of the students’ movement on this issue, the Administration has recently issued circulars stating minimum wages for mess workers, but there is still no administrative mechanism in place to monitor, enforce or guarantee it. Also there is no proof whether the statutory PF, ESI deductions from each labourer’s minimum wage is being deposited in individual workers’ accounts.

Most disturbingly, there is ample evidence on record of JNU Administration’s representatives having signed on contracts in the past where the wages cited are below the minimum wage (scanned copies attached). There is no attempt to retrospectively correct or compensate workers for these violations that have taken place even in the recent past, and no attempt to fix responsibility for these deliberate and illegal violations.

We are requesting citizens and academics to appeal to the JNU Administration to appreciate and nurture the social concerns of students rather than pursue an arbitrary course of action.

Attached are scanned copies of three of the documents obtained through RTI – and below is an explanatory note that makes it clear how these contracts violated minimum wage laws.

Documents 1 and 2

JNU Administration entering into contract with private agencies for Mess workers, Safai Karmchari etc. in JNU hostels blatantly violating the minimum wage laws. While the actual payment is still below this contracted upon illegal level of wages!

Unskilled Skilled

According To Minimum Wage Law Rs.3949.4 Rs.4445.4

JNU’s agreement with private agencies Rs.2900 Rs.4000

Actual payment in practice Rs.2100 Rs.3100

Document 3

The agreement signed by the Registrar for safai karmacharis state that JNU will pay Rs. 65,420 as total amount to the agency that will employ 20 staff for 31 days along with several other necessities.

If we calculate just the wage-bill for all 20 workers even at the lowest rate (assuming all to be unskilled, which of course is not correct as the staff includes supervisor as well) of Rs. 3949.4 ( @127.40 per day) it comes to Rs.78,988 . But the entire contract which is not just the wage-bill is for Rs.65,420, which is far below the wage-bill at min. wage rate. Clearly, the actual payment of the workers had been far, far less. It is really ironic that to fool any cursory observer, the same document ritualistically mentions compliance to min wage laws!

Note: Minimum wage has been raised by Delhi Government since Feb.07. For unskilled workers in Delhi it now stands at Rs. 157.70. But in JNU, both for construction workers and safai karmcharis the payment still stands at Rs. 80 approximately.

Click here to read original contract with workers (page 1) [PDF, 1 MB] »

Click here to read original contract with workers (page 2) [PDF. 1 MB] »



Anarchic violence : is it the need of the hour ?

June 28, 2007

Three days ago members of the RYL stopped a tram, distributed pamphlets
and then set the tram on fire.Like as if setting the tram on fire
is going to convince the people of the fascist nature of the West Bengal
government or is it going to elevate the consciousness of the people ?

Agree that it may have got some press coverage but that hardly
proves anything.. nowadays all you need to do is marry someone
from another religion ,throw a party or just plain kiss somebody
and viola ! you are on the front page of the newspaper with
hours of coverage from television news channels.

What do comrades think of such individual acts of violence ?

My advice to people is to not take part in individual acts of anarchic violence
for they serve no purpose. Burning a tram, smashing a statue or thrashing
a reliance fresh outlet is not going to serve any long term purpose.

It means nothing to these people in power.It poses
no threat to them.

Abraham Lincoln once said
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend
the first four sharpening the axe.

Taking a lump of metal and attaching it to a stick and banging it
at the base of the tree may cause some external injury to the tree
but it is not enough to bring it down. Eventually you will wear out.

We tell you to spend 5hours 55 minutes sharpening your axe
and practicing your stokes and then you will be able to chop
any tree in 5 minutes.

The current Mantra is to Organize.

In India there are an estimated 340 million unorganised workers(figures of 1999/2000. )And in most sectors like agriculture,construction,hotel industry more than 90 % of them are yet to be organised.

Click on image for larger view
Fellow comrades of RYL please use your time and energy more constructively and refrain
from individual acts of heroism or violence .

Naxalite strikes College St

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, June 25: A supporter of Revolutionary Youth League was arrested from Muraripukur Road today for trying to damage government property when he attempted to set a tram on fire near Presidency College on College Street last night.
Police said Bhola Dutta, a resident of 40/14 Muraripukur Road, was among the 12-odd youths who stopped the Belgachia-bound tram when it reached Mahatma Gandhi Road and College Street crossing.

Shouting slogans against setting up of special economic zones, the youths forced their way into the tram and distributed posters among passengers. They forced the driver and passengers to disembark. Later they poured kerosene oil on the footboard of the tram and then set it on fire. The mob retreated after they spotted a police van approaching the spot. The fire was extinguished and police started a case on the basis of the complaint of the driver of the tram. The vehicle was sent to Belgachia tram depot under police protection.

No one was injured in the incident.
“Bhola has been arrested following a tip-off this afternoon. His five associates have been identified. The youths all belong to RYL, a frontal organisation of a Naxalite outfit,” said DC (headquarters) Mr Pradip Chattopadhyay. Bhola was remanded in police custody for 12 days after he was produced before the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court, the officer said. “We are looking for the other accused,” he said.

A group of students including two from Jadavpur University went on rampage in an automobile showroom on AJC Bose road on 4 December last year. The two JU students were arrested. Yesterday’s incident is the second strike by a Naxalite outfit in the city in less that six months.


More than 400 students take the plunge and join the maoist movement in Tamil Nadu

June 28, 2007

Madurai, June 28: Interrogation of three Tamil extremists, arrested on Monday in neighbouring Theni district, has revealed the presence of a Maoist group in Tamil Nadu with links to Naxalites in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Initial investigation of the arrested, including two law college students, has found the existence of the new outfit headquartered at Dharmapuri, which in the past witnessed Naxalite activities, police said.

It was suspected that about 400 college students from various places across the state would have become members of the movement, they said.

Based on the information given by the three arrested, the police were now conducting raids at various places to arrest their leaders and other members.

The three extremists were arrested on June 25 after they were nabbed from a forest area in Periyakulam taluk of Theni district by residents of a nearby village. Some others, including two women, managed to escape. The group was armed with latest rifles and grenades.

The main objective of the movement was to rob the rich, corrupt officials and give the booty to the poor.

According to initial investigation, the arms and explosives seized from them included grenades of high quality (make not known), pistols and some ammunition.

The extremists had taken training in a clearing made in the western ghats and had come to Periyakulam for second phase of training. They had received funding from Maoist groups.

DIG (Intelligence) A K Viswanathan had visited the spot where the extremists were nabbed. (Agencies)


CPM unleashes white terror on members of USDF

June 28, 2007

USDF is one of the fastest growing student unions in calcutta which the authorities claim is backed by maoists of various hues.

Around 5:30 p.m. on monday, the students were attacked by a group of CPI-M activists when they were seen taking measurement near the proposed thermal power super-project at Srikhand village.One of them is in a critical condition with severe head injuries

Statesman News Service
DURGAPUR, June 26: Three of the five students of United Students Democratic Front who were detained by Katwa police last evening were released after preliminary questioning. Though Lokeshweri Dasgupta, second year history student at Jadavpur University, Priyonkar Dey of JU and Supriyo Sur of Presidency College were released, Jaladhar Mahato was arrested for his suspected links with Maoists.

Police said that Jaladhar might have links with the Lalgarh squad of the Maoists in West Midnapore and his name had figured during investigations following two Maoist strikes in Belpahari in 2005. The other three students were released after police did not find any links with them and the Maoists. However, police are yet to question Ashim as his condition is not stable and is currently admitted at a local hospital with critical head injuries. All the five were taken to the Katwa police station yesterday following a squabble at a village about six km from Katwa town.

Around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, the students were attacked by a group of CPI-M activists when they were seen taking measurement near the proposed thermal power super-project at Srikhand village.One of them is in a critical condition with severe head injuriest


CPI(Marxist’s) psedo leftist student union SFI smashed in Jadavpur University

April 3, 2007

CPI(Marxist’s) psedo leftist student union SFI smashed in Jadavpur University

First SFI was smashed in Presidency College Elections and last week they were
smashed in Jadavpur University.Is this the beginning of the end for the CPM ?

Comrade Dreamer has a report

Today SFI, the student’s wing of CPM, a social fascist, terrorist party in west bengal province of India was decisively defeated in the election to the Arts Faculty student’s union(AFSU) in Jadavpur University in kolkata. They lost all the four portfolio seats to FAS(Forum for Arts Students) a newly formed organisation.

Jadavpur University is one of the most prominent and prestigious universities in India. Not only because of it’s academic excellence but also the history of glorious student’s struggle right from the 50’s and 60’s. It was the storm centre of the naxalite movement of the 70’s.

However SFI, a criminal organisation dominated by lumpens and thugs have been holding the arts faculty union for the past 8 years by using different fair and unfair tactics. But the students have now made it quite clear that they will not tolerate this tactics of intimidation to continue anymore. They will not allow their beloved university and its honour be trampled by the pseudo-leftist,criminals.

This election mandate also reflects the growing disdain that is prevailing among the students and youth of west bengal about the bourgeois policy of the West Bengal government to grab the land of poor peasants and give it to the profit monger MNCs to satisfy their ugly hunger.

SFI had made this so-called pseudo-industrialisation an issue and has got a slap from the student community. The students of Jadavpur University have categorically rejected the anti-people economic policy of the CPM(Left front govt. and their politics of terrorism , mass murder and mass rape.

Details of the election held to the student body of Jadavpur University