Parliamentarians Should Rise Above Party Lines To Oppose EDSO-2021 bill

M.P.s should stand for Democratic and Legal rights of the Defence civilian employees, opines C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF

As already reported to our viewers, the 4 lakh Defence civilian employees staged a massive demonstration yesterday throughout the country against the draconian EDSO-2021. Today demonstrations and rallies are going on allover the country including in Delhi organised by the Central Trade Unions and the Independent Federations. We will be filing a separate report on that. In the meantime the Government has decided to place the EDSO-2021 bill for the approval of Parliament and pass Essential Defence Services Act 2021.

Accordingly yesterday the Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt introduced the Essential Defence Services Bill 2021. The Federations have already approached many MP’s to oppose the bill when it is placed In the Parliament. As an immediate reaction N.K.Premachandran, MP of Revolutionary Socialist Party from Kerala and Kodikkunil Suresh of the Congress Party from Kerala immediately opposed the Bill. N.KPremachandran opposed the bill with strong words. He said that the Bill is anti democratic, draconian and against ILO conventions. He objected that the bill cannot be
introduced when the house is not in order.

Replying to the MP the Minister said that Mr. Premachandrans fears are unwarranted. The Government has no intention to harm anyone. The Chair ruled that the merits can be discussed in the house when the Bill is taken up for discussion.

In the above backdrop, asked C.Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF that inspite of their vehement opposition to the EDSO-2021 and also inspite of their strong representation to Rajnath Singh the Defence Minister demanding for withdrawal of EDSO-2021 the Government is going ahead to convert the Ordinance into an Act of the Parliament by introducing a Bill in this regard, and hence what is going to be next course of action by the Federations?

Here is the response of C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF

C.Srikumar stated that he has already discussed with CPI MP Binoy Viswam and CPI General Secretary D.Raja to discuss this issue with all political parties and MP’s so that the issue can be strongly and seriously opposed in the Parliament and a debate in the parliament on this bill and also on Corporatisation of Ordnance Factories is required to be done.

Apart from CPI MP’s from CPI (M) and DMK have already protested to the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister against the EDSO-2021. This has to be opposed tooth and nail since the various provisions are draconian and of vindictive nature. This they have also brought to the notice of the Defence Minister. The Minister of State for Defence in the Parliament has stated that nobody will be harmed. If that is the intention of the Government then why such a draconian Ordinance is promulgated and why it has been placed to the Parliament for approval. The intention of the Government is very clear, it is to terrorize the Defence civilian employees and to ensure that by suppressing the voice of the Defence Employees the Ordnance Factories can be Corporatized and subsequently be privatised easily.

A National movement is being buildup against this draconian law since the Ordinance says that even if an employee refuse to work overtime then that refusal of overtime work can be treated as strike and that employee can be dismissed from service without inquiry and can also be jailed for 1 year with Rs,10,000 as penalty.

Similarly if an employee participate in a strike he can be imprisoned for 1 year, if a person is charged that he instigated a strike then he can be imprisoned for 2 years. All offences punishable under this Ordinance shall be cognizable and non-bailable. Any police officer may arrest without warrant any person who is reasonably suspected to have committed any offence under this Ordinance. If these provision are not draconian, then what is draconian? . How can peoples representatives can become a party for such unconstitutional and illegal Ordinance. In a democracy it is the responsibility of Parliament to protect the interest of each and every citizen of our country against discrimination, inhuman treatment, snatching of fundamental, democratic and legal rights to protest and right to life etc.

Therefore, irrespective of party affiliation all the MP’s should join together and oppose this draconian bill and also oppose the Government decision to dismantle and splinter the 41 Ordnance Factories into 7 Corporations. The presiding officers of both the houses of Parliament should allow a full fledged discussion on this draconian law which needs to be scrapped and withdrawn. The Nation should know why the working class of this country is opposing this draconian Ordinance. The worker has got every right to say to the employer that he cannot sell his labour to him if injustice is meted to him. This is a hard earned right which cannot be surrendered at any cost. After all still we are in a democratic country and there is a constitution still in existence.

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