Maruti Verdict Is A Vindication Of The Truth
In the trial court judgement on 10 March 2017, 117 workers of the automobile company Maruti Suzuki's factory in Manesar, Gurgaon, India were acquitted of a murder charge. 18 workers were convicted of minor offences while 13 – all leaders of the Maruti union – have been convicted of murder and await the quantum of punishment, to be declared on March 17, 2017.
The trial court verdict is a partial victory and vindication of the truth: the very fact that 117 workers have been acquitted exposes the hollow, vindictive and arbitrary nature of the entire prosecution case. The fact that most of the workers have been proved innocent is a triumph of the Maruti workers' struggle in a very unequal battle against the nexus of the management, the entire capitalist class, the State and the corporate media that had painted them all as a murderous mob.
The 13 workers convicted for 'murder' are all – unsurprisingly – leaders of the Union. Leaders of the Trade Unions in Maruti in Manesar and Pricol in Coimbatore are being punished for sticking their necks out and daring to lead the struggle of workers to form a Union and demand implementation of labour laws.
Laughably, prosecution witnesses in the Maruti case named accused workers in an orderly, alphabetical manner. That is, police arrested workers indiscriminately, listed and grouped them alphabetically, and then assigned each group an 'eyewitness' who claimed to have seen them 'rioting'! The State appointed a very high profile lawyer on exorbitantly high fees - Special Public Prosecutor KTS Tulsi – to head the prosecution team.
The Madras High Court recently overturned the conviction of 6 of 8 workers of the automobile company Pricol's Coimbatore factory. The High Court retained the conviction for two of the Pricol 8, but reduced their sentence to life imprisonment. The Maruti and Pricol workers plan to challenge the convictions of their comrades in higher courts.
Not only must the struggle for acquittal of all Maruti and Pricol comrades continue, we must also demand action against police officers who falsely implicated large numbers of innocent workers in murder cases without the slightest iota of proof.