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NIA raids on Jharkhand TUs calling them Maoist 'attack on dissent': CASR

By Our Representative 
On 19th and 20th June, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted  raids at 19 different locations spread across Giridih and Bokaro districts of Jharkhand. "The raids had just one purpose, the targeting of trade union organizations, Majdoor Sangathan Samiti (MSS) and Asangthith Majdoor Morcha (AMM)", said civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR). 
"They aimed to target the leadership, so as to stifle the voices that talked about the oppression and exploitation faced by workers in Jharkhand, in one of the oldest and most populous industrial hubs in the country", claimed CASR, pointing out, "7 years ago in 2017 MSS was banned by  the Jharkhand government under the BJP regime" under the pretext that it was the "frontal organization of the Communist Party of India (Maoist)." 
Recalled CASR, "Later in 2022, High Court of Jharkhand lifted the ban on the grounds that there it found "no evidence which indicates that MSS is a frontal organization of the Maoist party", noting,  "The court also observed that the actions of the Jharkhand government were very irresponsible."
According to CASR, "After the BJP lost the 2019 elections in Jharkhand, they again attempted to ban this organization", stating, in 2023, the state "repressed the same working class organisation on the grounds of a governor's ordinance", observing, this was "against the orders of the High Court judgment to ban MSS."
Amidst this "assault" on the trade union, said CASR, the Asangathit Majdoor Morcha "sprang to organise the unorganized working class in the area." And as this organisation too "became a thorn in the flesh for the state as it aims to organise contractual and unorganized workers", the state "attacked AMM, with the same vile intentions as it has done with MSS."
Commented  CASR, "NIA is working towards the aim of completely stopping all trade union activities in Jharkhand to pave the way for intensified exploitation of the workers and the 'red tagging' of organisations as Maoist front is one such way. The politics of ban opens the door for long term repression of the struggles of the oppressed and exploited masses."
It said, quoting the court order, "Upholding Maoism as an ideology without actively engaging or calling for violence is not a crime. This is in line with the democratic ethos of being able to uphold political thought freely and without criminalisation", adding,"Banning and tagging of organisations such as MSS and AMM are an attempt to render the working class toothless."



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