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Punish guilty officials: Left

Wednesday 27 July 2005

Special Correspondent

Withdraw cases against workers

NEW DELHI : Police action against striking workers in Gurgaon figured prominently in the meeting between Left leaders and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday. Dr. Singh had invited them for a briefing on his recent visit to the United States.

Expressing concern over the incident, the Left leaders said the guilty officials must be transferred/suspended immediately and suspended employees reinstated. They demanded medical treatment for the injured and compensation for those who suffered in the police action.

Also, the cases against the workers must be withdrawn and the motor factory must lift the "illegal" lockout.

"The Congress regime is back to its old ways wherever it is in power by turning against workers," Revolutionary Socialist Party MP Abani Roy, an invitee, said.

Besides Mr. Roy, the meeting was attended by CPI (M) leaders Prakash Karat, Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Sitaram Yechury, CPI leaders A.B. Bardhan and D. Raja and All-India Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas. External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan were present.

On the Prime Minister’s U.S. visit, the Left leaders spelt out their stand and the areas of disagreement including India joining U.S efforts on global democracy, the India-Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and nuclear policy.

Mr. Raja said the Prime Minister had mentioned that India needed nuclear fuel for the Tarapore plant and that the existing supplies would run out by year-end.

Anil Kakodkar, chairman, Department of Atomic Energy, who was present, said the current understanding did not affect national interest.

"We said it was not a question of nuclear fuel but the overall understanding. There are differences in our perception and understanding and we cannot agree... " Mr. Raja said.

On the gas pipeline project, Dr. Singh told the Left leaders that the Government stand was what was articulated before his U.S. visit.

The issue did not come up during talks with President George Bush and other U.S. officials.

The remarks were in response to a question by the Washington Post.

The Left parties had expressed reservation on the joint statement of Dr. Singh and Mr. Bush and planned to raise the issue in Parliament.

Dr. Singh briefed the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on Monday.

See online : The Hindu

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