Even as police contingents staged a flag march in Noida in the wake of extensive damage caused by protesters on the first day of the two-day nationwide strike by Central trade unions on Wednesday, sporadic incidents of violence were reported in the industrial pockets on Thursday. While over 120 people have been arrested in connection with the cases of rioting, robbery and arson in Noida, no untoward incident was reported during the “bandh” in Gurgaon.
While protests were held during the day in different parts of Noida, the protesters targeted about a dozen industrial units in Sector 5 and Sector 10. However, the police sprung into action and contained the situation soon. Five persons were arrested for their alleged involvement.
The police have so far registered 185 cases on the basis of complaints lodged by the owners of factory units and the vehicles which were damaged by the protesters on the first day of the strike. In one case, the police have named 68 persons as accused, while they are yet to identify those involved in other cases reported on Wednesday when the protesters had torched several vehicles and vandalised industrial units in Sector 82-83 of Noida Phase 2. Protests were also organised by the workers in Sectors 56, 57, 59, 60, 68 and 81 of Noida.
For its part, the Noida Entrepreneur Association said property worth Rs.600 crore was damaged in the violence on Wednesday.
In the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt, the production came to a grinding halt on Thursday, with the workers’ unions of all the major automobile industries staying away from work in support of the “Bharat Bandh” call. However, the bandh remained completely peaceful and no untoward incident was reported in the region.
“The bandh was complete and peaceful. All the automobile industries had to shut down their operations as the workers remained away from work,” said Hero Motocorp Workers Union general-secretary Bhim Singh Rao.
Gurgaon Industrial Association president V.P. Bajaj pegged the production loss in Gurgaon alone at whooping Rs. 2,000 crore. “Already industry is reeling under crisis world over and the two-day strike has done no good to it. Except a few garments industries, the bandh brought the production in the entire Gurgaon region to a standstill. But the administration did a commendable job ensuring that there was no violence as in neighbouring Noida and Delhi,” said Mr. Bajaj. Gurgaon Police Commissioner Alok Mittal said: “Elaborate security arrangements were made for the two-day strike. Besides the Gurgaon Police, we had received a reinforcement of 400 personnel from the police headquarters. The bandh was completely peaceful.” The workers assembled at the Hero Honda Chowk in large numbers around 11 a.m. and reached the Mahavir Chowk near bus stand in the form of a march raising slogans against the anti-labour and anti-people policies of the government. The protesters staged a daylong sit-in at the chowk amid heavy police presence.
“Besides the auto-industry, the Haryana Roadways, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, the Haryana Urban Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon also took part in the protest and its employees remained away from work. Not a single roadways bus plied on Thursday,” claimed All-India Trade Unions Congress Gurgaon general-secretary Anil Pawar.