Widows of two Motihari sugar mill workers, who had reportedly immolated themselves in April protesting against non-payment of wages amounting to lakhs, will travel to Delhi on Tuesday, for an indefinite protest from June 1. Suraj Baitha, 50, and Naresh Srivastava, 49, had immolated themselves on April 10 after giving prior warning to the district administration. Baitha had blamed the mill’s management and East Champaran administration for the extreme step.
“Suraj Baitha’s wife, Mina Devi, and Naresh Srivastava’s wife, Purnima Devi, would sit on an indefinite dharna at Jantar Mantar from June 1 along with around 100 farmers and workers accompanying them from Bihar,’’ said activist Swami Agnivesh, who will lead the protest.
Purnima Devi said they had no option but to go on an indefinite stir. “We want the country to know about the plight of sugar mill workers in Bihar.’’ The mill reportedly owed Baitha and Srivastava Rs 42 lakh each. Over 600 workers of the closed mill have been demanding payment of their salary for 133 months with interest — Rs 74 crore — and reopening of the mill. The mill was opened following Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s intervention in 2012 but was closed after 45 days.
Agnivesh has demanded a CBI probe and Rs 25 lakh compensation for the families of the deceased. “We are not satisfied with the government ordering probe by SIT,’’ Agnivesh said. “Our findings suggest that the district administration is responsible for the two workers immolating themselves.’’