Accuses police investigations of being a “farce, pro-management”
A year after violence broke out at Maruti Suzuki’s plant in Manesar, in which company HR manager Awanish Dev died and several others were injured, the People’s Union for Democratic Rights has termed the police enquiry into the episode a “farce” and demanded a fresh probe.
Arguing that the July violence should be seen in the context of history of unfair labour practices and workers’ struggle at Maruti, the rights group said: “What makes the Maruti story extraordinary is certainly not the company and its cars, but the extraordinary struggle of its workers that has continued despite ruthless repression by the management and the police and failure of the labour department and the judiciary to provide any justice to them.”
While releasing its fact-finding report highlighting the episode’s implications, the rights group has demanded that investigation into the July 18 incident carried out by the Haryana Police should be nullified and a fresh investigation initiated by an SIT comprising police officers drawn from other States.
Differing from the police version of the events about last year’s violence, PUDR alleged that a large number of workers and their family members were harassed by the cops in the course of a “deeply flawed” investigation.
“As a result of the police investigation, workers were arrested, jailed, and have been denied bail till date. The company at the same time terminated hundreds of workers accusing them of involvement in the incident well before the police investigation was completed,” said PUDR secretary Ashish Gupta.
“The Haryana Police have been consistently acting in a partisan manner favouring the management since the incident, and therefore cannot be entrusted with this task. The lack of an independent investigation into the incident has amounted to grave miscarriage of justice, which is why we are demanding investigations into the role of hired bouncers, who were present at the spot, and also that of the Haryana Police officers responsible for violation of legal guidelines regarding arrest and for custodial torture of arrestees, and harassment of their family members,” he said.
The fact finding report highlights “collusion” of the Maruti management, administration and police in workers’ harassment.
Among PUDR’s other demands include granting of bail to the arrested workers, re-instatement of all workers in the absence of any “definite evidence” and investigation of the role of labour department officials.