At least one person died of burns and 40 managers and executives,including foreign nationals,were injured in violent clashes this evening as labour unrest returned to the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki India,bringing production to a complete halt.
A mob estimated to be 4,000-strong torched a manufacturing unit,the security control room at the gates of the plant and damaged scores of parked vehicles.
Late tonight,smoke was billowing out of the company premises and 15 fire tenders were at the site. Police contingents were pouring into the area to control the situation. Angry workers clashed with police and attacked vehicles before they were dispersed.
Commissioner of Police K K Sindhu,present at the site with senior officers,told reporters that a body had been found inside the manufacturing unit and it appeared that the person had died of burn injuries. He said many executives were among the injured.
The injured have been admitted to different city hospitals. Our teams have fanned out in the entire area,we will soon make arrests, Sindhu said.
Eyewitnesses said foreign nationals were among those targeted. After going on a rampage inside the plant,the mob took to the streets. They were carrying sticks,anything they could lay their hands on. They attacked anyone who came in the way, an eyewitness said.
This morning,there was an altercation between a worker one source identified him as Gia Lal and a supervisor on the shop floor of the plant. The worker,the source said,was suspended. This sparked protests from workers. As the shifts changed,other workers joined them.
The management met union members to resolve the issue. What happened thereafter in the conference room is a bit unclear but sources said that at some point during the talks,workers attacked members of the senior management,executives and managers. They damaged office furniture,smashed window panes and ransacked the office.
In a bid to stop the management from taking disciplinary action against the worker,they blocked exit gates and prevented executives and managers from leaving the factory. Work at the plant had to be stopped as the situation spun out of control and a mob went on the rampage.
In a statement,Maruti said: Workers at the plant today turned violent,attacking and injuring executives and managers in the office premises. At least 40 managers and executives are injured,and have been rushed to hospital. The attackers also set fire to property and damaged facilities.
But the union contested this. Sarabjeet Singh,general secretary of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU),said: The supervisor made casteist remarks against a permanent worker. When we opposed it,they misbehaved with us and suspended the worker… If the management does not take back the worker,we may stop our work.
Haryana DGP Ranjiv Dalal has rushed to Gurgaon in view of the trouble at the Manesar plant. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said stern action will be taken against those found guilty in the plant dispute. Hooda said Dalal has gone to Gurgaon to ensure that law and order is maintained at all cost.
Labour unrest is not new to the Manesar plant which mainly produces the Swift car. There were three such instances in the factory in the last two years.
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