Rich tributes paid to martyrs of Chicago at May Day rallies across J&K

Excelsior Correspondent

Workers projecting demands during ‘May Day’ rally in Jammu on Tuesday.—Excelsior/Rakesh
Workers projecting demands during ‘May Day’ rally in Jammu on Tuesday.—Excelsior/Rakesh

JAMMU, May 1:  Many trade union bodies paid rich tributes to the martyrs from Labour class in Chicago (USA) in 1886,  in a large number of functions and rallies organized across the State to observe Labour Day today.
India National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) organized a large rally in this connection under the leadership of  Shiv Kumar Sharma State president INTUC at Satwari here today. Minister for Revenue Relief and Rehabilitation, Raman Bhalla was the Chief Guest. Raghubir Singh Chib, general secretary INTUC presented the charter of demands on the occasion.
Mr Bhalla while speaking on the occasion paid tributes to the martyrs of May Day and said that he was well aware of the major issues  of the workers class in the state. He promised that he will certainly take affective measures to get the demands settled at all concerned levels. Mr Bhalla said working class is the backbone of democratic set up  and their demands are needed to be addressed properly. The main issues projected by Mr Chib and Shiv Kumar Sharma included full implementation of 6th Pay Commission report, enhancement of gratuity in favour of PSU workers, enhancement of retirement age, grant of field service concession, mess maintenance allowance and counter insurgency allowance to defense civilian employees etc.
State Central Labour Union organized a function at National Conference Bhawan, Residency Road  here to pay tributes to the martyrs of Chicago, protesting and demanding  holiday at the week end. The function was organized  under the leadership of Nar Singh president of the union. Former Minister and additional general secretary of the NC, Dr Mustafa Kamaal was  the chief guest. Minister for  Industries and Commerce S S Slathia, Ministrer for Higher Education Abdul Ghani Malik, provincial president of the party Rattan Lal Gupta besides several other leaders were also present.
Dr Kamaal paid tributes to those who laid down their lives at Boston/ Chicago while fighting for the cause of labour class. He said labourers are most important part of the society and this party has always fought for their cause. Referring to the love and affection of Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohd Abdullah towards this class, Dr Kamaal said NC is the party of peasants, labourers and dowen trodden people. Mr Slathia, Mr Malik  and Rattan Lal Gupta also spoke on the occasion and paid their tributes to the martyrs. Nar Singh submitted a memorandum with charter of demands to the Industries and Commerce Minister, seeking abolition of  contract system, implementation of SRO 43 in PSUs, implementation of 6th Pay Commission and pension system in the PSUs, upgradation of ESI at SIDCO complex Bari Brahmana, regularization of daily wagers etc.
Former Chief Minister and PDP patron Mufti Mohd Sayeed  while describing workers as hands of the Government said that his Government tried to address all the issues of the employees and workers in the State. Addressing  a function organized by JKPDTU president Suresh Sharma here today, Mr Sayeed remaided that his Government had made it sure that all just and genuine demands of the workers would be addressed without any delay. He said during his regime, over 70,000 RET teachers and 30,000 Anganwadi workers  were appointed and this was done in transparent manner. He said there is need to provide major share of employment to the local skillded and semi-skilled youth in the industries here.
Former DyCM Muzaffar Hussain Beig called upon the Labour wing to protest interests of the working class. He said the working class was the back bone of any economy. Beig said PDP put lot of efforts to bring industry in the State and seek investment from outside but the interests of the local labour class were given first priority. He said a condition was imposed on the industrialists that major share to employment would go to the locals. JKPDTU president Suresh Sharma sought political empowerment of labour class holiday on May Day and implementation of  Labour Laws in J&K. Senior leaders Rangil Singh, T S Bajwa, Ved Mahajan, Balbir Singh, Daman Bhasin, Falail Singh were also present.
Panthers Trade Union organized a function at Railway Station to pay their homage to the workers who were killed by police at Hay Market Square, Chicago during 1886 demanding holiday at the week end and eight- hour working day. Function was organized by Daljit Singh chairman PTU while working chairman of  the party and MLA Harshdev Singh was the Chief Guest.
While paying tributes Harshdev Singh said it was on May 3and 4, 1886 that thousands of workers demonstrating peacefully in support of their demand at Chicago were killed in brutal police firing. Thereafter, reign of terror was let lose by police over Chicago and thousands of people arrested without charges, homes were ransacked and many workers were tried in courts and were convicted without evidence. Two-minute silence was observed by all during the function. The speakers projected the demands of the labour/ worker class who are agitating since long.
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), J&K State Committee observed May Day in a function organized near Press Club here today. All the workers hold red flags raised slogans in memory of martyrs of Chicago and also in support of their demands. Later, a May Day rally was taken out which started  from Press Club and after passing through Jewel Chowk, Gumat City Chowk and Shalamar Road culminated at Indira Chowk. Om Parkash,  general secretary and Sham Parsad Kesar senior leader of the CITU addressed the gathering. They raised the issues of the working class and urged the government to address their genuine and justified demands.
Chenab Hydro Power Project Workers Union observed Labour Day in a function organized at Kishtwar. A rally was taken out in the town under the leadership of Javed Ahmed Zargar. It was taken out from Bus Stand and after passing through main market culminated at Char Chinar. The workers were raising slogans in support of their demands and also recalled sacrifices of Chicago martyrs. They demanded hike in the daily rate of the workers in view of soaring prices of every commodity.
United Forum of Central, State  and Public Sector Trade Unions (J&K) organized a seminar in connection with the Labour Day on the topic “ The role of Trade Unions in the present scenario and exploitation of labour’’. The leaders, representatives, workers from  nearly 35 organisations of  Central, State and PSUs including Banks, Insurances, NHPC, BSNL, AG Office etc. participated in the seminar. Several leaders and workers paid their rich tributes  to the martyrs which sacrificed their lives for seeking 8-hour working day in Chicago.
The speakers including  Ram Kumar Sharma,  Ashwani Pardahn, Mohd Gafoor Dar, Rafiq Khaniyari, Arun Kumar Gupta, Balwan Singh Jamwal, Kulwant Singh, O P Azad, Parshotam Sharma, Babu Hussain, Bharat Bhushan Nirmal Rattan, Yash Pal, Dr Ghanshyam Singh, Pritam Singh, Balkar Singh N K Dogra and others expressed their views about the role of Trade Unions and exploitation of labour class. Some of them pointed out that trade unions were losing democratic character and were going towards the concessionbal demands only. They said the purpose of these unions to work for social and economic transformation.
J&K Coordination Committee of Trade Unions also organized a rally at Rani Park, Parade  here today.  Leaders of  the Union Ram Kumar Sharma and Gurmeet Singh while speaking remembered the martyrs of Chicago who laid down their lives for the cause of workers class. They demanded stoppage of  the policy of outsourcing and contractual labour besides regularization of daily rated workers. They also projected demands of the State government workers.
National Mazdoor Conference (NMC) leader Subash Shastri stressed upon the formulation of a National Pay policy and said that any Pay Commission announced by Centre should cover all the States automatically. He said due to lack of any such policy, the workers class is made to suffer and come out on the roads and resort to agitations. The Governments at Centre and  State level should seriously think on these lines.  He was addressing May Day rally at Brahman Sabha, Parade  here today. The workers assembled  paid rich tributes to the martyrs of Chicago.
Mazdoor Union observed Labour Day by organizing rally in Srinagar city today. It commenced from Municipal Park  A large number of workers from various districts participated in this rally. Several Trade Union leaders  including Bashir Ahmed Bashir and Mohd Ramzan Kralpuri  addressed the gathering and paid tributes to the martyrs of Chicago (USA).   They said it was time for the labour class to join hands  and formulate a strategy that would not only redress the problems faced by this class but also made it extremely constructive for the whole society. They emphasized the need of honouring the rights given to the labour class by the constitution.
Mazdoor Dasatkar Union led by K R Panotra organized a function at Trikuta Complex B C Road  while PHE Workers Welfare Association led by Bakshi Singh & Subash Verma  at PHE Complex, B C Road. The workers and their leaders paid tributes to the martyrs and lauded their contributions.
JKTUC, Mahila Wing led by Lalita Sabherwal observed May Day as Demands Day in the memory of those who sacrificed their lives in Chicago while fighting for the rights of Labour class. The Mahila workers paid their rich tributes to the martyrs. The speakers stressed for uprooting  problems of child labour, unemployment, poverty, economic imbalances, corruption, population explosion etc.
INTUC unit Kishtwar held a function at NHPC complex under the leadership of Raj Kumar Badyal. A large number of  NHPC workers attended the program and paid their tributes to martyrs. The issues of labour class in the area were also projected strongly. They speakers condemned the harassment  of project workers by the NHPC authorities and alleged that Labour Laws were being violated with impunity. Mohd Iqbal Shah, Sajjad Hussain, Shokat Ali also addressed gathering.
INTUC Udhampur wing organized a function at PHE complex Udhampur and then took out a rally in the town under the leadership of  Som Nath, which starting from PHE Complex passed through the main Bazaars of Udhampur and culminated at Barrian PHE Station. Workers from far flung areas of Udhamopur district participated in the rally and raised their long pending local and other demands and urged the Government to concede the same at an earliest. Vijay Kumar, Tej Bahadur Singh, Rattan Singh, Suraj Parkash and others also spoke.
J&K Rural Development Society in connection with May Day organized a function at Gandhinagar here today. Advisor  to the Chief Minister Mubarak Gul was the chief guest. While paying tributes to the martyrs on this occasion Mr Gul said that state government has been working hard to address the issues of the labour class. Under many schemes like MNREGA and others the Labour class is being benefited. Ex-Minister Ram Pal also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the issues of the working class.
Presentation Convent Senior Secondary School, Jammu also observed Labour’s Day in the school premises. The management, staff and the students of the school  expressed their gratitude to the supportive staff for their selfless services which they render continuously to the institution. A cultural programme was also presented by the students. A friendly cricket match was also played between the students and the supportive staff.  Principal of the School, Sister Rosamma, extended gratitude to the supportive staff for their services said that they were indispensable for the smooth functioning of the school.
G D Goenka Public School students  on the occasion of Labour Day, went to village Manihal Brahmana to perform street plays. The theme of the plays was right of labourers, right of education and educate the girl child. The purpose was to spread a message  among the down- trodden members of the society. The students from 4th, 8th. 9th and 10th participated in the street play. Pencils, note books, cookies and sweets were also distributed among the village children by the students. They also red out and explained certain labour laws to the villagers. Vice Principal, Mamta Singh congratulated the students and the teachers for such initiative.


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