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Report on violence in 3 months: Chief Minister

Staff Reporter

Hooda accuses political rivals of aggravating situation


HIT RIGHT, LEFT AND CENTRE: Police charge a bystander in a market area in Gurgaon on Tuesday. The city has been rocked by violence following clashes between protesting Honda workers and the police in the last two days.

NEW DELHI: Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has announced a judicial inquiry into the clashes between the agitating Honda workers and the police in Gurgaon. Mr. Hooda told the media here on Tuesday that the retired High Court judge, J.C. Garg, would conduct the probe and submit the report within three months.

Mr. Hooda said he had already ordered a magisterial inquiry but following his meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and keeping in mind the feelings of Parliament, it was decided to order a judicial probe into the "unfortunate'' incidents during the past two days in Gurgaon.

"I have been saddened by the developments in Gurgaon as everything was almost sorted out. We suspect that some outsiders infiltrated into the ranks of the agitating employees and provoked the situation. The inquiry would cover all aspects and all those found guilty of misconduct would not be spared,'' he said.

Mr. Hooda disclosed that the police have been able to trace nearly 40 outsiders in the crowd. They were not employees of the Honda factory but actively taking part in the clashes. Accusing his political rivals of aggravating the situation by infiltrating trouble-makers in the ranks of the employees, Mr. Hooda said he had information that goonda elements had been mobilised for this purpose from villages in and around Delhi.

"I myself went to the spot to have a first hand view of the situation and visited the injured in the hospital. The Haryana Government will bear all the medical expenses for their treatment,'' he added.

On the complaint that the police had manhandled member of Parliament Gurudas Dasgupta, Mr. Hooda said he had requested Mr. Dasgupta to furnish the identity of the police official and he would take appropriate action. He urged the parties not to politicise the situation but help in restoring peace in Gurgaon, the nerve centre of major Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by multinational companies.

NHRC for probe

Expressing deep concern at the police lathi-charge , the National Commission for Human Rights (NHRC) on Tuesday asked the Haryana Government to get an independent probe conducted into the incident, preferably by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The NHRC asked the Chief Secretary, Haryana, to send an Action Taken Report (ATR) in this regard to the Commission within 10 days. "The NHRC is of the opinion that in order to instil public confidence in the rule of law, an impartial investigation into the police assaults and the related incidents by an agency independent of the State is called for,'' the Commission said in a statement.

Representatives of various trade unions held a meeting in Gurgaon and called for an industrial bandh on Thursday to protest against the police action on the Honda Motors workers. Twenty-five trade unions and workers unions have supported the bandh. In the evening, former Union Minister Sahib Singh Verma visited the spot and sought dismissal of the Hooda Government for "failing" to protect the workers. He announced that Rs. 1 lakh would be paid from the BJP party fund to the injured.

Hundreds of workers of HMSIL were injured in police action on Monday while they were marching on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road seeking higher wages and re-employment of suspended employees. As many as 330 were detained by the police, of whom 61 were arrested on charges of attempted murder, arson and destruction of public property.

Company expresses regret

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, a spokesperson of Honda Motor and Scooters India Limited expressed regret over the incident and conveyed sympathies to the injured workmen. The multinational corporation has promised to provide all medical assistance to the injured.

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