New Delhi: Elamaram Kareem, a Rajya Sabha MP from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), wrote to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday, demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Essential Defence Services Ordinance, 2021, claiming that the Ordinance is primarily intended to suppress the indefinite strike called by the 76,000 employees of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
“According to this Ordinance, strikes in the Defense sector are declared illegal, and it includes draconian provisions such as dismissal from service without even an inquiry, arrest, and imprisonment,” Kareem wrote in his letter.
According to the letter, anyone who instigates a strike can face imprisonment for a term of up to two years, a fine of up to Rs 15,000, or both.
“It gives any police officer the authority to arrest without a warrant any person who is reasonably suspected of committing any offence under this Ordinance,” it said.
He also stated that the ordinance is contrary to the ILO Conventions that India has ratified and is a violation of the current labour laws.
“The government has only used this executive power to threaten OFB employees and other defence civilian employees from participating in any protests or strikes. The Union Government has made an undemocratic and anti-constitutional decision “He stated.
“In this case, I would like to request that you reconsider this decision and withdraw the Essential Defence Services Ordinance, 2021 as soon as possible. I also urge you to take the necessary steps to begin a dialogue with OFB employees about their demands and to reconsider your decision to privatise the Ordnance Factories “In his letter, he added.
The Essential Defence Services Ordinance, 2021, went into effect on June 30.