Tributes paid to martyrs on May Day

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR/ JAMMU,  May 1: In connection with the ‘May Day’ which is also observed as International Labour Day, various Trade Unions paid tributes to the martyrs of  Chicago  (USA) and held various programmes in this connection across the J&K State.
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) held a massive rally at Chinar Park, Sonwar, Srinagar to mark May Day. A large numbers of workers from different sectors carrying banners, placards and shouting slogans in favour of their demands marched from the venue towards Lal Chowk.
“May Day was born out of struggle and is the only event that transcends all divisions of religion, race, nationality or any other prejudice of the past amongst the human beings,” CITU State president Mohd Yousuf Tarigami  said while addressing large rally.
The onslaught on labour class is too, severe and can only be met with united struggle, he said adding that labour laws across the State were being brazenly flouted and the destitute  engaged in Govt  and private sector as ad-hoc, casual, seasonal, need based, contingency paid workers and contractuals are facing its brunt.
ASHAs under NRHM, Anganwadi workers & Helpers, CPWs, Mid Day Meal Workers, MGNREGA employees, Construction workers, need based, seasonal, casual labours, daily wagers are neglected and their long pending demands are not met.  He demanded immediate revocation of SRO 105 that deprives livelihood to hundreds of labourers associated with quarrying and construction business.
Observing that labour laws in the State are not in tune with the interests of workers in organized and unorganized sector he said there was imminent need to amend and update these. The (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 1996 to protect the rights of labourers working in construction projects has failed to benefit them, the CITU president observed.
Paying rich tributes to Zaldagar martyrs of 1865, Tarigami said that they laid the edifice of a struggle against the exploitation and atrocities on the artisans, a prominent section of working class. He said that the Shawlbaff protest launched at Zaldagar against the ruling class has given vent to numerous movements of working class which are awaiting successful culminations.
General Secretary CITU and Member of Parliament, Tapen Sen in his address castigated the Central Government and said that the social security benefits like pension, Provident Fund, health insurance etc are hard won rights of the working class secured through decades of struggle. These gains are now being reversed through privatization of pension funds, provident funds and cuts in subsidies and welfare benefits and such measures being implemented across the world today specifically target the social security benefits in order to pass on the burden of the economic crisis to the working people. He observed that the subsidies on food, fuel and fertilizers meant for the common man is targeted to be brought down to the mere 1.75% of GDP, while as 5% of GDP is being provided for tax defaulters and moneyed class.
Extending revolutionary greetings to the entire working class and the toiling masses on the occasion, president of All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers & Helpers and CITU Secretary, K Hemlata emphasized on the need to strengthen the unity among the trade unions.
Veteran Kisan leader Ghulam Nabi Malik said that May Day is not an occasion to only commemorate the sacrifices of labour class and resolve for protecting the rights of working class but those of the peasant class as well, whose rights have brazenly been infringed.
Indian National Trade Union Congress  organised May Day function at Poonch in association with Water Works (PHE) Employees Association, District Poonch unit, under the chairmanship of  Shiv Kumar Sharma the  National secretary and State president of INTUC and provincial president of the Association. MLA Shah Mohd Tantray was special invitee to the function.
The function was held under the leadership of Faiz Akbar Chouhan, the District  president Poonch. The workers from Mendhar, Surankot, Poonch, Balakote, Bufliaz etc had come in large strength to attend the occasion.
Mr  Sharma while paying tributes to the martyrs of Chicago described the working classes of the country as real back-bone of economy. He expressed deep anguish over the present plight of the working fraternity. Citing the evil of exploitation of the working classes, he said that despite dedicated service as daily wagers for the last about 20 years, workers are not being regularized. Even in most of the cases the Govt owes the wages for 30 to 35 months to daily wagers in arears.
At Udhampur a large rally was taken out from PHE complex under the banner of INTUC. District president of the INTUC and senior Trade Unionist Som Nath was leading the rally. A large number of PHE, I&FC employees participated. They were raising slogans projecting workers demands. The participants paid tributes to martyrs of May Day and recalled their sacrifices for the working class. Som Nath projected burning issues of the daily wagers, ITI trained and other consolidated workers on the occasion.
In yet another May Day rally organised by NHPC workers and INTUC unit at Kishtwar,  the  participants paid tributes to martyrs of Chicago.  PCC vice president and MLA Inderwal, Ghulam Mohd Saroori addressed the large gathering.  Hundreds of workers joined Saroori in paying tributes to the martyrs.
Saroori said that May Day is the only commemoration that is celebrated across the world cutting across national frontiers, ethnic, racial, creed, caste, colour divisions and religious prejudices to uphold the unity of the class struggle. “Daily wagers in different departments who are providing water and other services etc to people in far flung and remote areas, are being paid only twice in a year—Eid or Deepawali—festivals in respect the daily wagers from Kashmir are being paid Rs 4500 per month”, Saroori alleged.
Saroori also urged Chief Minister of J&K to solve the genuine demands of HR Workers in PHE Department, CPW, ReT’S, EV’S workers working in Education department, NYC volunteers, VDC members, SPO’S, Asha Workers at an earliest.
In his message on International Labour Day, PCC president G A Mir while describing the Labour Classess as main architects of the Nation has said that the progress of every organization in general and Nation in particular lies with the working class as without their participation the progress in any field is not possible. He said that Government must take care of the issues of the workers class.
Former PCC chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz also remembered the martyrs of Chicago today and paid them tributes. He recalled that Zaldagar massacre was  connected with the shawl weavers, who were denied proper wage about 200 years ago.  He regretted that even after so many decades of independence the condition of shawl weavers and artisans of Kashmir is not good.  They continue to suffer due to corrupt system.
In Udhampur also May Day function was organised by the Mazdoor Dasatkar Union at Town Hall  where MLA Pawan Gupta was the chief guest.  Several other trade unions of the town also joined and  paid tributes to martyrs of May Day. A large rally was also taken out in the town, which passed through various markets and finally culminated at the same place.
Former Minister and senior NC leader Surjit Singh Slathia recalled the crucial role of labour class in fighting exploitation during a mass movement decades ago, saying this has greatly helped in maintaining dignity of the work force.
“The might of the work force cannot be undermined, as they constitute major segment of our society and hence there is need for societal change towards the welfare of the labour class”, Slathia said while addressing a huge May Day rally, at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan this morning.
Mr Slathia said that every day is a labour day but observing it on May 1 has a historical significance as hundreds of people sacrificed their lives during the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago nearly two centuries ago while struggling for their rights.
Recalling the initiatives taken by NC from time to time, Slathia in particular made a mention of keen interest evinced by  Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah for the empowerment of labour force and said this continues to be a guiding force for the party.
Rampaul, chairman SC/OBC Cell, Th Kashmir Singh, State vice president Sheikh Bashir Ahmad,  Brij Mohan Sharma, Ch Haroon,  Bimla Luthra, Chander Mohan Sharma,  Deependar Kour, DV Singh Jamwal, and  State-Centre Labour Union, president Nar Singh also paid tributes to martyrs of May day.
State unit of NCP also organised a function under the leadership of founder of INTUC and former minister Thakur Randhir Singh here today. A large number of leaders of the party and trade unionists paid tributes of martyrs of  Chicago and said that their martyrdom gave new dimensions and momentum to trade union movements in the world.
Meanwhile,  National Human Rights ( Social Justice Council), J&K unit while recalling the sacrifices of May Day martyrs projected the burning issues of the labour/ workers class  in the J&K state. M I Zargar and Girish Raizada raised the issues pertaining to exploitation of workers class and violation of the Labour Laws.
Shramik Vikas Sangathan of Aam Admai Party, J&K unit also organised a function under the leadership of Vipul Bali and Harpreet Singh in this connection and paid tributes to May Day martyrs.


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