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Condemn the attacks on union building in West Bengal! Demand withdrawal of cases against Comrade Pratip Nag and all others

Thursday 2 October 2014, by Radical Socialist

Radical Socialist condemns the attacks by the West Bengal Government on the Civic Police, their unionisation drive, and the attacks on activists, including comrade Pratip Nag of Radical Socialist.

In 2013, the government of West Bengal took a major step in the direction of outsourcing police work. For non-repressive work, such as traffic control, especially during holidays, religious festivals, etc, 1,30,000 young women and men were inducted as civic police volunteers. Initially they were appointed for 28 days of work, and later for 120 days within a period of 6 months. These people are paid at the daily rate of Rs. 141.82, which is lower even than the MNREGA rate of Rs. Rs. 169 per day and the government determined rate for agricultural labourers at Rs. 206 per day.

Most of them have not been issued uniforms. They are often used for dangerous work such as breaking up illegal stills. But they have no training in self defence, and not even batons for self defence. Six such personnel have died while on duty, but no compensation has been promised or given.

As a result, by late 2013 the civic police started organising themselves. On 10 July 2014, they gathered in Dharmatala, Kolkata, after taking due permission from the Kolkata Police. Around 30,000 came together, demanding full time appointment, appointment letter, payment of minimum wages, getting Employees Sickness Insurance, Provident Fund, etc.

As a result, the government was compelled to accept their demands in part. But soon, attacks were launched, both on civic police personnel themselves, including their State President Sanjay Podia, and on others. A false case has been lodged and trade union activists with whom the civic police got in touch, notably comrade Pratip Nag of Radical Socialist, have been implicated in it.

We demand: Recognition of the minimum rights of these personnel Payment of minimum wages Appointing them on a secure basis Accepting their union rights Withdrawal of all cases agsainst civic police and their supporters in the trade union movement.

1 October, 2014

Radical Socialist