Black Gag Protest at Shollinganallur junction, Chennai – Just a beginning not an end!

Black Gag Protest at Shollinganallur junction, Chennai – Just a beginning not an end!

Just a beginning not an end!

 After two weeks of online campaign against the massive terminations in TCS, Forum for IT Employees (FITE) has stepped into streets calling upon the IT employees in OMR Chennai to come out for the job security of TCSers. A four bit poster campaign for the Black Gag protest demanding Central and State government to intervene and stop these unethical, illegal massive terminations in TCS was done in the residential area of IT employees and across OMR by FITE members in the night of Thursday(01 Jan 2015). Thousands of pamphlets pressing for the same demands were distributed by FITE members in Tidel, Shollinganallur, and Siruseri in the morning of the protest day (02 Jan 2015).  Campaign had a good reach and the protest itself aimed at bringing into the notice of non-TCSers and the government authorities about the massive unethical layoff. However, the evening did not go off as expected due to the mess created by the State Police on the spot.

Due process had been followed by FITE to get the permission from the Police department. A letter seeking permission for a black gag protest in Shollinganallur junction was given on last Monday (December 29, 2014) evening itself. On Friday, the Inspector of Semmencheri police station said that he did not get intimation from Commissioner Office regarding the protest. Two of our team mate went up on to the City Commissioner office and checked on it. We were told by the Commissioner office that the protest can go ahead without black gags and the same would be intimated to the local police station.

With this background, we went to the protest spot. About 40 IT employees gathered around the spot including a dozen of the affected TCSers. Exactly at 5 pm, the Inspector of Semmencheri police station, Mr. Siva Kumar came to the spot saying that he did not receive any intimation and hence he would not allow this protest. When we explained all the above proceedings and requested him to check with the Commissioner office, he refused to do so as if there is no chance of get things clarified now. We realized by then that the intention of the police is to stop the protest for unknown reasons. The Inspector wanted us to get dispersed from the spot with an undemocratic statement, “Every object outside in the roads under my jurisdiction is mine”. He then first tried to seize the protest banner and then ordered his constables to seize the cameras of media persons, which enraged the media persons. The way, the police handled us and the media raised doubts about their motives to suppress the protest against IT giant, TCS. The gathered media attempted to get an interview from FITE team. When Mr. Siva Kumar tried to stop the media getting interview from us, the media person turned very stubborn and finally, the police conceded.

FITE co-ordinator, Parimala addressed the media and condemned the police action to thwart the IT employees protest. Parimala explained about the ongoing illegal massive terminations of IT employees by TCS and the plight of the affected TCSers. Through the media, the FITE coordinator demanded the Central and the State government to take necessary actions to stop the indiscriminate terminations in TCS. When one of our members told media that the Inspector of Semmencheri police station (Siruseri SIPCOT is located in its jurisdiction) appears to protect the TCS management, the Inspector started mishandling him and moved him forcibly to the police station. When the gathered IT employees questioned the Inspector in presence of media that he did not have the authority to behave this inhumane way, he got stuck and then, the Assistant Commissioner Mr. Gnanasekar, jumped in and controlled the Inspector. This incident has given a message to that Inspector that he could not take things for granted with respect to IT employees protesting peacefully.

Positively, the visual media and print media in Chennai has understood the significance of the IT Employees protest and published in the mainstream dailies viz., The Hindu, The New Indian Express, Thinathanthi etc. In the end of second week of our campaign, the silence retrenchment of experienced TCS employees has been brought out in the media at least in Cochin, Chennai and Bengaluru.

To those who want to suppress our actions, FITE’s message from the Sholinganallur protest is that it’s just a beginning and not an end.  As planned earlier, FITE will continue to work towards making the issue as a national debate to seek justice and progressing well towards it by meeting the affected TCSers in the other cities, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi.

             Yesterday’s message to ourselves and those who want us to be silent is that this is just a beginning and certainly not an end!

F.I.T.E. – Forum for IT Employees
03 – January – 2015

Photos From the Protest Spot
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