Red Salute to the Martyrs of 19th September 1968 Strike!
It is on 19 th September 1968 that the Central Government Employees went on a Historic One Day Token Strike demanding Need Based Minimum Wage, DA as per increase in cost of living index etc. participated by lakhs and lakhs of workers forcing the central government to a standstill.
Instead of discussing and settling the issues, the Indira Gandhi government used all its repressive machinery in suppressing the workers. More than 80,000 were arrested and jailed, including those M. P. s and other leaders who supported the strike. Tens of thousands were dismissed and terminated.17 valiant comrades became martyrs being shot / beaten to death by the police / RPF/ CRPF.It took years to vacate the victimisation.
The movement can be proud that each and every worker could be reinstated although punishments continued.55 years are over after the historic struggle.
New and serious attacks continue against the working class including the CG employees as well as PSU workers. Hard won rights like pension, EPF, job security etc are under attack. About 9 lakh vacancies in Central govt, including in Railways, are unfilled causing serious safety concerns and accidents. PSUs are being handed over to corporates for less than half their worth.
Conspiracies are being hatched to destroy the secular fabric and democratic federalism enshrined in the Constitution. Communal tensions are being created by the central rulers themselves. The situation is worse than during the dark Emergency days of 1975-77.Of course, united and joint forceful struggles continue against the anti – people, anti working class government. As in the dark Emergency days of 1975 -77, united mighty struggles are being organised by workers, kisans and other sections of the toiling masses.
The political scene has also become vibrant with opposition parties coordinating for the next Parliament elections.It is at this critical juncture that we are observing the memory of the One Day Token Strike of 19th September 1968. It will give strength and inspiration for our future struggles for the emanicipation of the working class.Red Salutes to the Martyrs of 1968 Strike!
V A N Namboodiri