MY LIFE AND STRUGGLES – 35
CHANDIGARH ALL INDIA CONFERENCE 1975
Reaction of split in NFPTE had its reactions in Kerala also. It started in Calicut. Annual Conference of E.III Union, Calicut Phones Branch, was held participated by about 70 members. When election process started, 5-6 comrades walked out stating that they have difference and gave a parallel list of office-bearers to department. All India Union, even without calling for a report from Branch or District union, recognised parallel list.
Branch Union approached court which delivered judgment accepting the duly elected office-bearers of Branch union. CHQ was compelled to recognise elected office-bearers. However, after a few months CHQ recognised the parallel list again.
Similar disruption was planned and implemented in other branches and divisions in Kerala. After some time, recognition of E.III Circle Union, Kerala was also withdrawn by CHQ. Recognition was granted to disruptors’ team.
It was period of Emergency. KG Bose group which opposed Emergency and OPG group which supported Emergency tried to improve their support base by massive campaign.
Not only problems of staff were not settled during Emergency, but further attacks started on employees and working class. Five DA instalments due were denied to CG employees. Recognition of NFPTE and all India Unions were withdrawn. As stated some of the union leaders were put behind bars. All these resulted in a rethinking on the part of both groups.
The All India Conference of E.III Union was held at Chandigarh in 1975. Even at this time, Circle and Branch unions of Kerala continued without recognition from CHQ. However, it was decided to participate in AIC. A meeting was held in Delhi with presence of Comrades N.J.Iyer, Adinarayana, L.A.Prasad – leaders of KG Bose group. As Com.M.C.Ayyappakutty, Circle Secretary had left for Chandigarh, I was asked to attend. It was the consensus that even if General Secretary OP Gupta refuses to entertain, our delegates have to attend and express our opinion. If, after unity talks, posts of office-bearers are offered, we should accept. So far during all these years, not a single post has been given to KG Bose group by OPG.
Kerala delegates reached there, but no accommodation given. Our delegates were denied registration. But still participated. Later, accommodation was provided in the premises of telephone exchange, which benefitted us to contact outstation comrades in night.
As usual in E.III AIC, there was serious discussion on problems and organisational matters. Strong criticism against OPG was raised for supporting Emergency and engineering disruption. No action was taken by CHQ to get the dismissed workers of 1974 reinstated. I moved a resolution to that effect, but President, Com.Homi Daji M.P., tried to snatch the mike from me. Stepped down from stage and continued speech from down below and moved resolution demanding government to reinstate terminated workers. As OPG had not participated in strike, they did not want the house to know that many had gone on strike and got victimised. Coms. Moni Bose, J.Renganathan and others also sharply criticised wrong priorities of CHQ.
About half of delegates walked out protesting against pro-government stand of CHQ and non-settlement of urgent problems. Moni Bose was leading the walk-out, while I was in the rear bringing all our delegates to outside. All of a sudden one hefty Sardarji came running with intention to beat me. O.P.Gupta, who was nearby hit him in such a way that the comrade was thrown feets away. I just walked out, as I have not seen. It would have been an embarrassment both to him, the comrade and me.
OP Gupta came out, discussed with us, sorted out things and we went back to continue participation in conference. Discussion took place and unity was restored. As part of agreement, for the first time 3 posts were allotted to us. Coms. Moni Bose and R.S.Yadav were elected as Vice-Presidents and Com. K.M.R.Unni from Kerala as Asst. General Secretary.
In NFPTE Federal Council held at Bombay during 6-8 August 1976 understanding was reached between both groups to bring unity in the organisation. A united list of office-bearers with Shri Shashi Bhushan M.P. as President and Com.D.Gnaniah as Secretary General was elected. But government refused to accept and recognise the unanimously elected list of office-bearers. Government cancelled registration of union journals and confiscated printed copies of same. Attack against Federations and Unions intensified.
Thus unity in NFPTE and E.III union was restored. But in Kerala, both groups continued functioning separately. (to be continued). Photos 1) Homi Daji M.P. 2) D.Gnaniah 3) O.P.Gupta