Mill workers beat CEO to death, Didi blames Opposition

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called the incident an act of “CPM and BJP goons”.

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Updated: June 16, 2014 10:22 am
mills-main Police at the mill, at Bhadreshwar in Hooghly. (Source: Express photo)

The CEO of a jute mill at Bhadreshwar in Hooghly was beaten to death and at least two members of the management were left injured on Sunday by workers agitated over a suggestion that the number of working days in a week be cut from five to three because of losses.

CEO of Northbrook Jute Mill S K Maheshwari had called a meeting in the morning with union members where he talked about the move. However, no conclusion could be drawn as the meeting erupted in commotion and was adjourned till 4 pm.

Meanwhile, as the B shift began trickling in at 11 am, a rumour spread that a decision to have a three-day week had been finalised. Sources said irate workers went into Maheshwari’s office and, after a brief exchange of words, attacked him with rods and stones.

A profusely bleeding Maheshwari was taken to a private hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The injured management members are hospitalised.

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A case has been registered at the Chapdani Police Station.

Howrah SP Sunil Kr Chowdhury said four persons had been held and there would be more arrests. “The arrested four are linked to labour unions such as the AITUC (affiliated to the CPI) and CITU (CPM),” he said.

Maheshwari, 69, is survived by his wife and three children. His son lives in Chicago while both his daughters are settled after marriage in Maharashtra.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called the incident an act of “CPM and BJP goons”. “I heard that the union members of CPM and BJP assembled at the jute mill with their demands and CEO Maheswari came out to hear them when he was beaten up mercilessly,” the CM said.

West Bengal Labour Minister Purnendu Basu too blamed opposition parties, saying they were trying to taint the reputation of the TMC government, “which has managed to solve jute mills’ problems”.

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Senior CITU leader Shyamal Chakraborty accused the TMC government of making wild allegations. “First they used to see CPM ghosts in everything and now there is a combined ghost of the CPM and BJP.”

BJP leader Tathagata Roy asked how the TMC was drawing conclusions even before investigation had begun. West Bengal BJP general secretary Shamik Bhattacharya warned that the killing of an industrialist would dent the state’s image.

State president of INTTUC (affiliated to the TMC) Dola Sen claimed Northbrook Jute Mill was controlled jointly by unions such as the BMS (of the BJP), CITU, INTUC (Congress trade union) and AITUC. “Of the 59 jute mills, we have our presence in 52 and North Brook Jute Mill is one of the other seven.”

Regretting the political bloodletting, the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA), an umbrella body of jute mills, said the killing of the CEO had put a question mark on the future of the ailing jute industry in West Bengal. Former IJMA president and industrialist Sanjay Kajaria accused the Centre and state government of neglecting the sector. “The jute sector needs a political solution. Both the Centre and the West Bengal government need to set differences aside and find an amicable solution,” he said.

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  1. A
    Asoke
    Jun 16, 2014 at 3:11 am
    It’s no use indulging in blame game. Find the miscreants andbring them to justice. This barbaric incident would send wrong message to theindustrialists who have already bad impression about the political ambiance ofthe state. That apart, this mudslinging diverts attention from the main issueand does more harm than good.
    Reply
  2. G
    Gopi Chand
    Jun 15, 2014 at 11:03 pm
    Another shining example set by people of Bengal with Left mindset and Ironic support for workers by Chief Minister Mamata BanerjeeIt is Ironic to note that CM Mamata blames every thing on opposition even if a crow flies over her.
    Reply
  3. J
    Jayanarayan Kongasseri
    Jun 16, 2014 at 2:46 am
    How long will Mamata blame the Opposition for all her failings? She is a big shirkar. We bemoan the bad luck of Bengal for choosing wrong leaders for the last 35 years. The cause for their misery is their wrong choices again and again.
    Reply
  4. N
    NLS
    Jun 16, 2014 at 9:32 am
    This is the ugly side of our leftist socialism where law and order matter little. Rowdy elements under the garb of "poor, affected" resort to violence and no action would be taken against them or their instigators. Militant strikes are not even questioned. Those blaming crony, corrupt capitalism should note that this is the other side of same coin (both are abominable).
    Reply