The police have on Thursday arrested 99 workers on charges of murder and rioting, a day after a general manager was killed in a violent confrontation between workers and the management at the Maruti Suzuki car plant at Manesar in Haryana.
Awinash Kumar Dev, General Manager Human Resources, died when portions of the factory were set on fire after a worker was allegedly subjected to caste abuse and suspended by a supervisor. Mr. Dev’s charred body was identified by his brother, the police said.
Director General of Police (Haryana) R.S. Dalal, accompanied by senior police officers, on Thursday visited the plant to take stock of the situation. He promised strict action against the culprits. Senior police officers, including Assistant Commissioner of Police (South) Ravinder Tomar and Inspector Om Prakash, were injured when they tried to whisk away the injured to hospital.
Trouble broke out on Wednesday morning when worker Jiya Lal was suspended for allegedly slapping a supervisor on the shop floor. The workers resorted to violence and set ablaze portions of the plant late in the evening after the management proposed to defer the reinstatement of the suspended worker till Thursday evening.
Maruti Suzuki Workers Union president Ram Meher, in a statement issued on Thursday, said “the supervisor abused and made casteist remarks against a Dalit worker, which was legitimately protested by fellow workers.”
Though the company initially said 40 managers and executives were hurt, it turned out that over 100 were injured. “More than a hundred of our executives and managers were injured in the attack and taken to hospital. Around 50 of them were discharged after first aid and the remaining are still under treatment.” a Maruti Suzuki India Limited spokesperson said.