Kochi

No arrest even month after assault on labour activist

More than a month after an activist working amidst the migrant workers in Perumbavoor was allegedly abducted and assaulted by a gang, the police are yet to make an arrest in the case.

George Mathew, coordinator of the Progressive Workers’ Organisation, was abducted from near Bengali Colony, a migrant intense area, and thus the name, in Perumbavoor, on the night of October 18. He was taken to a godown in Mudikkal where he was brutally assaulted.

A search was launched for him by migrant workers after he failed to turn up to fetch his bicycle kept at the colony as has been his wont. He was eventually tracked down by migrant workers who launched a petition at the Perumbavoor police station by which time the assailants reportedly dumped him back at his room in a dazed state.

Mr. Mathew suspects the assault was the consequence of intervening for securing rightful compensation for a migrant worker who lost his right palm at a work site accident three months ago.

The police had since then registered a case against eight persons on the statement of Mr. Mathew, invoking IPC Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly in furtherance of a common object), 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), and 365 (kidnaps or abducts any person with the intent to cause that person to be secretly and wrongfully confined).

However, two of the accused secured anticipatory bail while another six remain yet to be caught. The police attributed the lack of progress in the case to the victim’s inability to accurately recollect the incident. “We also need to record a detailed witness statement of a migrant worker with the help of a translator who is not immediately available,” said the investigating officer.

Mr. Mathew, however, said that the police had not even shared a copy of the First Information Report. “Two persons have already secured anticipatory bail and by delaying the probe, the stage is being set for the rest to follow a similar route of reprieve,” he alleged.

A protest gathering was organised shortly after the assault, the participants of which were charged by the police with violating COVID-19 protocol.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 5:37:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/no-arrest-even-month-after-assault-on-labour-activist/article33163803.ece

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