Com. Paltu Sen (Amar Sen), President of the National Committee of IFTU died of a massive heart attack on July 30, 2013. Although suffering from severe diabetes, serious visual handicap and damaged kidneys, Com. Paltu Sen did not allow these to come in the way of his leadership of the revolutionary trade union movement and was actively engaged in this work till the end. Com. Paltu Sen was a member of the Central Committee of CPI(ML)-New Democracy. Com. Paltu Sen leaves behind his wife and two sons.
Born on 10th March 1950, Com. Paltu Sen a resident of Uttarpara, Dist. Hoogly, West Bengal became active in revolutionary student movement and actively participated in food movement in West Bengal in 1966. He was a very popular student leader at the time. He was a student of B.Sc. Physics (Hons) when inspired by the Naxalbari armed peasant movement he left his studies and plunged into revolutionary communist movement and joined communist revolutionaries and subsequently CPI(ML) when it was formed in 1969. He went to organize tribal poor peasants in Odisha from where he was arrested in 1970. He was charged with conspiracy to overthrow the Govt. (Section 120B IPC) , convicted and sentenced for seven years prison term. After the end of Emergency rule he was released from jail in 1978.
On release from jail he immediately resumed active revolutionary political work and took up the responsibility of organizing the revolutionary trade union movement in Hoogly dist. Industrial belt and soon became a popular revolutionary leader of workers. The unions organized and led by Com. Paltu Sen were among the unions who gave a call for the formation of a revolutionary trade union centre culminating in the founding conference of Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) in Guwahati in 1978 where Com. Paltu Sen was elected a member of the first national committee of IFTU. Com. Paltu Sen’s pioneering role in building of the revolutionary trade union movement and his leadership qualities were soon in evidence and he became President of the National Committee of IFTU in 1984 and was re-elected in 1987, 1993, 1998 and 2005 IFTU conferences.
On resuming political activities after release from jail, Com. Paltu Sen became a member of the West Bengal state committee of the CPI(ML) and later also became its secretary, He was elected as Central Committee member of CPI(ML)-New Democracy in 2004. Under Com. Paltu Sen’s leadership IFTU became a force to reckon with in the Hoogly industrial belt and broke the stranglehold of reformist and reactionary trade unions in the big industries in the belt and in the jute industry in West Bengal. He directly led many notable militant struggles in Jayshree Textiles, Hindustan Motors, India Jute Mill etc. While Com. Paltu Sen was actively involved in the workers struggles in big industries, he also paid attention to work among unorganized sections. He organized brick kiln workers and recently Com. Paltu Sen was instrumental in getting minimum wages with the provision of VDA notified for the biscuit industry in West Bengal which employs over 40,000 workers.
Com. Paltu Sen was a powerful and effective orator who roused workers to militant agitations. He had an excellent grasp of all the intricacies of the trade union movement enabling him to repeatedly foil the machinations of the employers as well as reformist and reactionary trade unions against the workers ‘ struggles. Com. Paltu Sen had mastered all the aspects of TU struggles, particularly initiation, conduction and conclusion of workers’ strikes.
Com. Paltu Sen withstood many attacks by the goons of employers and CPM and went many times to jail in course of struggles. Com. Paltu Sen as severely beaten and arrested during a rally in Delhi on May 10, 2002 against imperialist globalization. Under his leadership IFTU played a significant role in the anti-displacement struggle of peasants in Singur. The newly formed Mamata Govt. got Com. Paltu Sen arrested on totally false charges and kept him in jail for over a month and a half although he was severely ill in an attempt to break the IFTU’s organization among the workers. In earlier years CITU goons with CPM led Govt. connivance had made physical attacks and atempts to eliminate Com. Paltu Sen apart from foisting various cases against him.
Com. Paltu Sen’s death is a great loss to the communist revolutionary movement in the country, particularly revolutionary trade union movement. IFTU NC while paying homage to its dear departed leader calls upon the working class to strengthen the revolutionary trade union movement and intensify struggles against attacks by the employers and Govt. We call upon workers to intensify struggle against exploitation and oppression of the Indian people by imperialism and comprador ruling classes.