The Indian Workers’ Association GB concluded its National Conference on 23 November at Leicester. The conference celebrated the 75th anniversary of IWA and launched a new era under a new Central Executive Committee, including its very first woman National General Secretary Joginder Kaur Bains.The IWA which had been consolidated its position as the first choice organisation for the Indian diaspora in Britain during the last decade, reported real growth in terms of membership and the number of branches, extending the base of IWA among the masses. IWA has over the last two years attracted many Indian people originating from different parts of India living in Britain and Ireland.

The Conference reviewed the impact of the Ghadar Party Centenary commemoration programme. IWA recalled its historic links to the Ghadar movement. With a Workers Association set up by Rajani Palme Dutt in the 1930’s as a response to the disbanding of the Ghadar Party by USA.

The IWA was established on 23 December 1938 at Queens Road Coventry, for supporting the freedom movement for India. The IWA closely associated with Shaheed Udham Singh, became a voice and representative body of the Indian diaspora in Britain. A responsibility that it has discharged with distinction for 75 years.The delegate conference discussed, amended and endorsed the report of the organisation. The conference applauded the CEC on its recent campaign calling for the withdrawal of the £3000 Visa Bond proposals, opposition to ad vans and exposure of text messages targeting migrants.

The conference endorsed a call to oppose the discriminatory elements of the Immigration Bill currently going through parliament.The conference has called for the immediate reinstatement of appeal rights for family visitors.Allow all student dependants the right to work to live.The conference will be campaigning across Britain and Ireland for the withdrawal of mandatory language test imposed on settlement and naturalisation for people outside the EU with retrospective effect.

The IWA further seeks the withdrawal of the draconian proposals for the removal of; the in country appeal rights on human right applications, penalty for landlords for failing to verify the immigration status of tenants, the move to cancel citizenship from naturalised people rendering them as stateless and the imposition of a £200 surcharge for accessing NHS, putting lives at risk.

The IWA welcomed the remarks recorded by David Cameron as the first serving Prime Minister in the visitors’ book of Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust after paying homage to the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh massacre where he laid a wreath on the memorial by bending on his knees and observed silence for about a minute.”This was a deeply shameful act in British history – one that Winston Churchill rightly described at that time as ‘monstrous’,” Cameron wrote.He further wrote, “We must never forget what happened here.” Advocating the right for peaceful protest in an apparent correlation to Jallianwala Bagh massacre where more than a thousand peacefully protesting people were shot dead on the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, Cameron wrote in concluding line, “And in remembering we must ensure that United Kingdom stands up for the right of peaceful protest around the world.”

The IWA in the start of preparations for the centenary of Jallianwala Bagh has called for the formal recording of an apology by the British Government in Parliament, along the lines of the sentiments expressed by David Cameron.Among the other resolutions is a call to campaign for an uplift in the national minimum wage to a living wage above that being required by HM Immigration services for the settlement of spouses.

The IWA will be campaigning for the N02 EU yes to democracy during next year’s euro elections. The IWA will support the International commission for the Miami 5.The conference concluded after a rousing speech by the chief guest Com MA Baby former MP and Minister of Education and Culture from Kerala.

The Indian Workers’ Association has dedicated 2014 as the year for celebrating the 150 year anniversary of the International Workingmen’s Association (IWA) organised by Karl Marx on 28 September 1864.

Harsev Bains
National Vice President