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India: Leaflet on 1977 Swadeshi Mill Police Firing in Kanpur

10 October 2007

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[excerpts]

JALLIANWALA BAGH REPEATED IN KANPUR

BRUTAL EXAMPLE OF THE INCREASING REPRESSION LET LOOSE ON THE WORKING CLASS BY JANATA GOVERNMENT

SWADESHI MILL WORKERS THE VICTIMS OF FASCISTIC SHOOTING, HUNDREDS DEAD, INJURED, ‘MISSING’

Exposure of the Massacre of December 6, 1977

On the 26th of October, 1977, workers of Swadeshi Cotton Mills had ’gheraoed’ the production manager, K.P. Aggarwal over the question of non-payment of the wages of three fortnights (one & a half months). ln this incident, the workers had established their militant unity, taken their leadership in their own hands, foiled the maneouvres of the police, and won a victory after a struggle lasting 53 hours.

The government had appointed a receiver and been compelled to make an immediate payment of the wages due to the workers. This incident boosted the morale of the workers and demoralized the government, police and PAC.

A few days after this incident, Lucknow Television carried a programme entitled “Prashanon ke Ghere Mein” (“Surrounded by Questions”) in which the DIG of Police & the Home Secretary were interviewed. A woman had asked them what they intended to do to prevent a recurrence of the “anarchy” exhibited by the workers of Swadeshi Mills. They replied that they would not permit a recurrence at any price, and that the government was prepared to take definite-steps.

On the 29th of November, an attempt was made to break the unity of the workers by using hired thugs to convert a small quarrel between 2 workers into a communal riot. The attempt was unsuccessful. By this time, despite the appointment of the official Receiver, another three fortnight’s wages had fallen into arrears and a tremendous anger had gripped the workers. The government and mill authorities were fully aware of the situation, yet made no move to pay the workers, thus infuriating them further.

On the day of the incident, 6 Dec., only about 1000 workers were working the morning shift due to a shortage of electricity. There was some hope of the arrears for the last one and a half months being paid. However, the account office told the workers, that contrary to expectations- there was no hope of the money being paid in the near future. By the time the two o’ clock shift began about two thousand workers had arrived in the Mill to join their duty. They surrounded the production manager, Sharma, and, the accounts officer Aiyangar and demanded their wages. The officers did not give a satisfactory answer, whereupon the workers gheraoed them. They also requested the police officers present there not to intervene in their dispute with the management.

Meanwhile the Police and the PAC arrived there in large numbers. The Police entered the mill and tried forcefully to break the gherao.
Outside the mill gate the Police began a lathi charge and resorted to tear gassing. Thus provoked, the workers also tried to stop the police with stones and brickbats. As a result of this one police officer received a slight injury- Even while workers inside were talking with the police Officer (Juhi inspecter) and the city magistrate ordered the PAC to open fire ?

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Jallianwala Bagh Repeated In Kanpur
Text of leaflet released in Delhi by Ad Hoc Committee For Inquiry into Kanpur Massacre on the 1977 Police repression on textile workers at the Swadeshi Mill in Kanpur, India.
[scanned by Harsh Kapoor / sacw.net]
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