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Garment factory workers go on rampage after rumours of colleague’s death

Six cars, four motorcycles set on fire in Gurgaon; situation worsened after another rumour spread of workers’ deaths in lift.

Written by Sandali Tiwari | Gurgaon |
June 21, 2015 1:13:43 am
worker death, protest, violence, gurgaon factory worker, garment factory, factory worker death, delhi news, city news, local news, Indian Express Workers set vehicles on fire and broke the windows of Orient Craft’s factory in Udyog Vihar. (Source: Express Photo by Manoj Kumar)

In yet another incident of unrest among workers in Gurgaon, 10 vehicles were set on fire and a dozen more damaged by angry workers of a garment factory in Sector 37 on Saturday morning. They went on the rampage following rumours of the death of a fellow worker.

According to police, the incident took place around 10 am at one of the units of Orient Craft in Udyog Vihar. The workers heard a rumour that a co-worker, Shyam Sunder, had been electrocuted while operating the lift and had died in the hospital where he was admitted.

The agitated workers then went on the rampage, vandalised four units and broke window panes of the building. A few workers were injured in the incident, police said.

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However, what aggravated the situation was another rumour that four workers were trapped in a lift and burnt alive. Later, police managed to bring the situation under control and assured the workers that the rumours were false.

Gurgaon Police Commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk said, “Before police reinforcement could reach the spot, the workers turned violent.

They set six cars and four motorcycles on fire. Miscreants also broke glasses outside the building and tried to set inflammable material stored in the factory premises on fire. As police reinforcement reached the spot, the situation was brought under control,” he said.

A flag march with around 200 police personnel was conducted by the commissioner. “There has been no reported casualties. Keeping in view the past history of workers’ unrest in the factory, the damage was contained in a minimum possible manner. Gurgaon police reacted swiftly to defuse the situation,” he said in a statement.

Police said this was not the first incident of violence to be reported from this company.

According to sources, a similar incident took place in 2012. “This company does not have a union that can address problems collectively,” a source said. Police said around 50 of the trouble-mongers were outsiders who were called after the other workers ‘planned’ the rioting. The workers had also planned to torch a 16,000-litre canter of diesel, police said.

“Strong police presence will be maintained for the next few weeks to ensure peace in the area. A team of Rapid Action Force has been deployed at the spot,” a police officer said.

Later in the day, police identified eight workers involved in the incident and have booked them for rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon, unlawful assembly, attempt to murder and use of an explosive substance. More persons are likely to be arrested in the coming days, police said.

In a similar incident in February, at least six garment-manufacturing units were vandalised and over 100 cars damaged by a group of around 300 angry factory workers in Udyog Vihar Phase-2 after a rumour that one of their co-workers had allegedly died after being assaulted by a company official.

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