HR manager, hostel warden arrested for assaulting woman worker of mill in Coimbatore
Victim had come from Jharkhand to work at the mill
The Saravanampatti police in Coimbatore on Sunday arrested the Human Resources (HR) manager of a private spinning mill and the warden of its ladies hostel on charges of assaulting a woman employee, a native of Jharkhand. The action was taken after the video of the assault, which took place over 10 days ago, was widely shared on social media.
The police said the mill’s HR manager V. Muthaiah, 46 and warden R. Latha, 39, were arrested on Sunday morning.
According to the police, a group of women from Jharkhand came to the mill at Udayampalayam, near Coimbatore, two weeks ago. The mill management claimed to the police that the women remained in the hostel and did not report for work for a week.
Video goes viral
When Latha questioned the women about it on November 27, one of the women allegedly pushed her. This led to a quarrel and the HR manager beat the woman with a stick, the video of which went viral, the police said. The warden was seen pulling the hair of the woman.
Thangadurai, Deputy Director of Industrial Safety and Health, Thudiyalur, lodged a complaint with the police on Saturday.
Saravanampatti inspector L. Kanthasamy investigated the incident and arrested the Muthiah and Latha for offences under Sections 294 (b) (obscene acts and songs), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 506 (1) (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and Section 4 (penalty for harassment of women) of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.
Deputy Commissioner of Police E.S. Uma said the police had informed the Labour Department to look into the incident.
Industry sources said any mill where women workers were not treated according to the norms should be taken to task.
“We organise awareness programmes and teach the employees [with a supervisory role] how to treat women workers. There are social audits too. Yet, there are such incidents,” a textile mill association representative said.
Officials from various departments, including Revenue, Labour, and Industrial Safety and Health, conducted an inquiry on Sunday evening. Official sources said the mill employed nearly 150 workers. A group of women from Jharkhand had worked at the mill earlier and rejoined duty a month ago. Following the incident about 10 days ago, nearly 20 workers of the group had left the hostel, which is located opposite the mill. The officials will submit a report to the District Collector G.S. Sameeran on Monday. Action will also be taken for other lapses in the unit and the hostel, if any, the officials said.