A day after factory workers went on a rampage in Sector 37, Gurgaon, the police booked over 250 of them and filed an attempt to murder case against some.
Workers at garment unit Orient Craft had turned violent and resorted to arson and rioting in Udyog Vihar after rumours of the death of a co-worker spread on Saturday morning. The police later mentioned eight names in the FIR. However, no arrests have been made.
“The police have been conducting investigations based on CCTV footage and testimonies given by other workers and people from the factory administration. We will soon make arrests,” said Rajesh Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime).
The police also insinuated that the rioting was pre-planned.
“There was already a riot-like situation before police reached the spot. Workers at Orient Craft have a past record of indulging in violence,’’ Kumar said.
The police have also ruled out the involvement of a mob from outside.
But some union leaders in Gurgaon rejected this suggestion and said the system of hiring workers through contractors is a major reasons for such unrest.
“It is time the administration takes a lesson and works towards providing a friendly environment as workers get exploited and resort to violence” said Kuldeep Jhangu, president of Maruti Workers Association.
The company said workers were immediately informed about Pawan Kumar, the worker who according to the company had touched an open switch in the lift that resulted in a shock and injured him.
“We are still trying to figure out what could have led to the rioting, in spite of the workers knowing that Pawan was out of danger,” said Khazan Singh, the human resources manager. Pawan worked in the finishing department of the export house.
This is not the first time a rumour has caused rioting of this magnitude.
On February 12 this year, around 1,000 workers of Richa Garments vandalised factories, damaged machinery and burnt vehicles in Udyog Vihar following rumours that one of their co-workers had died after being beaten up by a security guard at the factory.
Saturday’s incident has again raised questions over the administration’s failure to communicate well with workers. After the February incident, the state labour department claimed to have launched several initiatives to stop such incidents.
“The initiatives were aimed at improving communication between management and workers and educating workers to and take a civil approach to conflict resolution,” said a senior district administration official.
Jhangu said it is essential that unions are constituted in companies to make communication easier.
“The labour department and company heads should meet the unions at least once a month and hear their grievances,” he added.