ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Battles against Modi

Today, we stand at a juncture where the chief beneficiaries of the neo-liberal model of “development” have succeeded in presenting it as the one best suited for everyone’s needs, which the Bharatiya Janata Party has used to garner electoral support. If we are honest about fighting Modi, it is time to seriously interrogate our complicity in the story of “development”.

On 26 April, at 4.30 am, Shriram Piston factory at Pathredi in Alwar district of Rajasthan witnessed what has now become routine violence in the Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor. Nearly 2,000 policemen, along with more than 100 bouncers, attacked around 1,200 workers who had been occupying the factory since 15 April. Their demands: better pay, greater security of employment, and the revocation of the illegal suspension of 22 workers – outrageous in the eyes of those who specialise in exploitation.

Hardly two days had passed since the Lok Sabha elections in the district. The showpiece event of our famed parliamentary democracy mattered little to the workers. Mostly migrants, they could not cast their votes in Rajasthan anyway, and had requested their families back home to boycott the elections. The few local workers in the factory had deliberately kept themselves away from the vote. Was that a political strategy, I asked Ramprakash, a worker from Rewari district of Haryana? “Only the management has plans and strategies. We can only react to whatever is thrown at us”, he retorted. “We stayed away merely because we saw no point in going to the booth.”

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