Throwback to Industrial workers protest 1988 when the workers defied the Police orders to sign on the blank papers.

The biggest ever strike of industrial workers took place in the year 1988. An estimated 13lac workers in industrial units of Delhi and its neighbouring towns (Ghaziabad, Sahibabad and Noida) were on strike to press for implementation of their demands including a minimum wage of 1050/- (instead of 562/-); and to end contract labour, retrenchments and lockouts; provision of cheap housing and crèches for women workers and withdrawal of anti labour laws. The strike and agitation was called by Centre of Indian Trade Unions, CITU.

During the strike period the workers merely wanted to voice their opinions peacefully. They did not want any violence and the leaders of CITU kept all political parties at bay. The strike could not be considered as law and order problem by any angle.

But this was not how Police looked at it, right from the day the strike started, police lathicharged the protestors and made indiscriminate arrests. On the first day of the strike lathicharges were reported from Wazirpur Industrial area, Kundli Industrial area, Rajasthan Udhyog Nagar in Delhi, Ghaziabad, Okhla and Mayapuri. A journalist Mukul Sharma who presented the picture of the protests was arrested as well.

On November 26( two days before the strike ended) the CITU leaders held a press conference and said that 571 workers had been arrested during the protests thus far.

Hired gangsters also attacked the protestors and police lathicharged the protestors instead of going for the gangsters. The citizens report later proved that gangsters were put in the crowd by Delhi police.

The strike ended but 900 people were told to attend the proceedings and investigations by police and other agencies. Govt had blamed communist party of China for the protests and 900 people were told to sign on blank papers. CITU took decision and told all the 900 people to defy the orders of signing on blank papers and to not participate in the investigative procedures.

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