Hundreds of factory workers staged a demonstration in Gurgaon’s Manesar area Thursday evening, to show solidarity with those convicted in the Maruti case earlier this month. Almost five years after violence broke out at the Maruti plant in Manesar, which left an HR manager dead and 90 injured, Additional District and Sessions Judge R P Goyal had, on March 10, convicted 31 of the 148 accused factory workers in the case. On March 18, he sentenced 13 of the 31 convicted to life imprisonment and four others to five years in jail. The remaining 14 were released on the basis of the sentence undergone.
The demonstration — which was also held to mark the martyrdom of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh — was staged to show solidarity with the jailed workers and in protest against the judgment pronounced in the case. The protest began at 3 pm, with workers gathering at the gates of their respective factories. The group then marched to the Tau Devi Lal Park in Manesar, where a meeting was held at 4 pm.
At the meeting, it was decided that a detailed course of action, to turn this into a “continuous movement” would be decided in a gathering of the workers’ unions on March 28 in Manesar. In addition, on March 31, workers will hold a day-long event at Jantar Mantar to protest against the convictions. “In the long run, all the unions will also come together to provide assistance, financial and otherwise, to the families of those convicted. We will also stage demonstrations against the convictions all over India on April 4,” said Khushi Ram, a member of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union.
Gurgaon Police PRO Manish Sehgal said, “We had already made prior arrangements to ensure law and order, in anticipation of the demonstration, and things went off smoothly. About 350-400 police personnel, including traffic police, were deployed for the demonstration.”