A week after her husband was killed in an attack by unruly workers at the Maruti Suzuki Indias Manesar plant,Suparna Prasad Dev,a deputy director in the Ministry of Defence,believes he would have lived if only the 50 policemen present at the plant had intervened on July 18.
There are certain answers that I want besides getting the culprits punished. If in the Hero Honda incident (of July 2005) 30 policemen could beat up around 800 workers with lathis and bring the situation under control,how could 50 policemen not open fire to disperse the mob (at the Manesar plant). A single shot could have been warning enough for the workers. It would have diverted their attention,they would have been saving their own lives instead of killing my husband and attacking others, Suparna Dev told The Indian Express.
Her husband Awanish Kumar Dev,general manager (human resource) at Manesar,was so badly burnt that many colleagues failed to identify him. Finally,his relatives recognised him. Doctors said he sustained multiple fractures on his legs and arms when he was attacked and was unable to run from the room.
She slammed the police for the manner in which they displayed her husbands body to the media. It was insulting,insensitive. How could the policemen remove the white sheet and then the plastic sheet from my husbands body for the media? I want action against these policemen.
She believes that the policemen at the plant did not act because they feared they would meet the same fate as their colleagues who beat up the Hero Honda workers. Transfers and negative publicity in the media might have made the policemen decide not to use firearms against the mob, she said.
Senior Maruti officials contacted by The Indian Express said the police did not respond to the situation properly despite being aware of the tension at the plant,and the negotiations that were on with the workers union.
Inquiries at the plant revealed:
50 policemen were deployed at the plant around 3 pm on July 18.
Police claimed that the back-up arrived after 40 minutes of a distress call to the police control room. But security personnel at the plant gates said violence began between 6.15 pm and 6.30 pm,that police reinforcements arrived at 7.45 pm. Police said the call for reinforcement was made at 7.15 pm. But a notice pasted at Gate No. 2 of the plant states that violence began soon after 6 pm when the second shift got over.
Maruti officials said there was delay in the police response time. They said three police stations are located within a 20-km radius and additional policemen could have been rushed. Manesar police station has 60 policemen while Kherki Dhaula has 40.
Meanwhile,the police are on the lookout for 13 union leaders other than the 50 who have been named in the FIR on the attack.
Police said they have arrested two executive member of the union,Dhanraj Bhambi and Pradeep Singh. We will be able to arrest the members of the core team this week, a senior officer said.
The union members,who are said to be in their 20s with diplomas from polytechnics,include president Ram Meher; vice-president Sohan Kumar; chief patron Sandeep; general secretary Sarabjeet Singh; cashier Suresh; legal advisor Ajmer Singh; secretary Pawan Kumar; executive members Ram Vilas and Amarjeet; and,organising secretary Yogesh Yadav.