The Ernakulam Rural Police has taken into custody over 150 workers of a private garments factory (Kitex Garments) who hail from North-Eastern States, Jharkhand and West Bengal, in connection with the sporadic outburst of violence at Kizhakkambalam early on Sunday morning, which resulted in the workers setting ablaze a police jeep and attacking police personnel who arrived at the spot to defuse the situation.
The Kunnathunad Police said cases have been registered in three police stations in the area and procedures are underway to record the arrest of the workers. Most of the detained workers are from Jharkhand. The situation is under control now, they added.
The clash began between workers hailing mainly from North-Eastern States and those from other States, over conduct of late-night Christmas celebrations in a camp where the two groups of workers were put up in. The workers, who were reportedly under the influence of liquor and narcotic drugs refused to heed to directions issued by security personnel of the factory, following which police help was sought. They then turned their ire on the police.
Jeep set ablaze
They set ablaze a jeep in which Kunnathunad circle inspector V.T. Shajan and four other police personnel arrived, while two other police jeeps too were damaged. The personnel were also roughed up, while most of them suffered head injuries in stone pelting.
Mr. Shajan suffered a hand fracture and injuries to his head. They were admitted to Medical Mission Hospital, Kolenchery. While the others have been discharged, civil police officer Subair is remaining in the hospital with facial injuries.
The District police chief (Ernakulam Rural) K. Karthik was among those who arrived at the spot early in the morning to quell the violence. Police personnel were deployed in riot gear to bring the situation under control and to raid the worker camps. A probe is underway to zero in on workers who were involved in the clash.
The Perumbavoor DySP is leading the probe into the incident. The workers who were taken into custody have been taken to different police stations in the area.
The police personnel who arrived first a the sport, who were caught unawares by the scale of violence, had to borrow helmets from local residents to overcome stone pelting and get near the area. A posse of 500 personnel led the raids that led to the detention of workers, it is learnt.
The workers reportedly snatched away a few phones of residents of the locality who were recording the violent incidents. There used to be incidents of tiff between the workers and local residents, sources said.