for building a democratic labour movement in India
The case of Suzuki workers in India
The accused workers held guilty for murder and related charges include Ram Mehar, Sandeep Dhillon, Ramvilas, Sarabjit Singh, Pavan Kumar, Sohan Kumar, Pradip Kumar, Ajmer Singh, Jia Lal, Amarjeet Kapoor, Dhanraj Bhambi, Yogesh Kumar and Pradeep Gujjar.
The defence lawyers said they would challenge the sentence in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Maruti workers, unions pledge support for former colleagues
Trade union leaders said they will fight in the higher courts and on the streets as it had become a battle between workers and the capitalist class that has maximum support from the government.
Maruti workers down tools to protest court sentence
Maruti case accused convicted in the 2012 factory violence case at district court in Gurgaon on Saturday. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Workers at the Maruti Suzuki plants in Gurgaon and Manesar observed a one-hour strike from 9pm to 10pm to protest against the sentencing of 13 convicted workers to life imprisonment, and five-year prison term to four others.
Workers from different auto companies, and union leaders held a meeting in Gurgaon to discuss the future course of action to get justice for their incarcerated colleagues.
Kuldip Janghu, general secretary, Maruti Suzuki Kamgar Union said the verdict was against the tenets of justice, and was a result of fabricated evidences, which led to the conviction of workers. “We observed a one-hour strike and will continue to protest against the injustice meted out to workers,” he said.
The six major factories where the strike was observed include Maruti plants at Gurgaon and Manesar, Suzuki Motorcycles, Kherki Daula, Bell Sonica, FMI, and Maruti Suzuki Powertrain, Kherki Daula. Earlier in the day, a large number of trade union leaders attended the court, and after hearing the verdict, expressed their shock.
Ram Kumar, a trade union leader said the government and the company had put immense pressure to secure such a harsh verdict. “One person was killed in an accident but an entire army of workers is being held responsible and being punished because they are underprivileged,” Kumar said.
Maruti case verdict: Gurugram on alert, workers boycott factory food
GURUGRAM: The district has been put on alert as the verdict in the labour unrest in Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s Plant in 2012 is due on Friday. The district administration has imposed Section 144 and additional cops have been deployed at all sensitive spots as the workers have threatened a protest if the judgement is not in their favour. Also, the three Maruti plants and their associated factories boycotted lunch provided by the company.
Tension is expected in Gurugram as the verdict in the case will be announced at the district court on Friday. In July 2012, Awanish Kumar Dev, the then Human Resources General Manager at the Manesar plant, was burnt to death during a labour unrest. Dev’s both arms and legs were broken in the assault. As a result, he could not leave the building when it was set on fire. His charred body was recognized through the tooth implant. Also, 94 other managers and supervisors and nine cops were injured in the attack. Around 145 workers were charged with rioting with weapons, murder, attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, assault, and trespass, among others. Out of these, 11 workers are still in jail, while the rest are out on bail.
As the verdict in the case is due on Friday, the workers have circulated an appeal to all unions across Gurugram to join in the protest. “We are apprehensive about a Pricol-type ‘life sentences’ and long-term convictions against hundreds of workers and are preparing with a call for unity of all workers and all pro-worker forces. We appeal to you to be present in the Gurgaon Sessions Court premises on the day of the judgement. We also appeal to you to be united and take solidarity actions in support of justice for all Maruti Suzuki workers facing repression by the central and state government and the company,” said the appeal by Provisional Working Committee, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union.
Thus, sensing the gravity of the situation, the district magistrate has issued prohibitory orders. It is anticipated that various unions of IMT Manesar, Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s plants in IMT Manesar and Gurgaon may protest leading to tension, breach of peace and disturb the public tranquility, danger to life and property. Therefore, gathering of five or more persons, carrying of weapons etc has been prohibited around the district courts and Maruti Suzuki’s Plant.
“The SHO of the area’s police station is responsible to implement this order. The violators will be liable to be prosecuted as per the law. These orders will continue till March 15,” said Hardeep Singh, district magistrate Gurugram.
Maruti Suzuki case: Kin of convicted still shocked by verdict
Parents and relatives of those convicted of violence at Maruti’s Manesar plant in 2012 are still shocked by the court verdict on March 10. Most of them do not even know under what sections their sons and brothers have been found guilty.
The families said it would be difficult for them to cope with the situation as most of those convicted are young and in several cases, the sole bread-winners.
Krishan Kumar, who has a disability in one leg, has a young daughter and was married only a year when he was arrested in the Manesar violence case. “The family is disturbed and his wife and daughter are inconsolable. He is not capable of doing any crime, he walks with such difficulty,” Ashok Kumar, Krishan’s father-in-law, who came to the court for hearing the sentence on Friday, said. The family, which is from Khanda Kheri village in Hissar, was numbed when it came to know about Krishan’s arrest on March 10 after he was convicted by the court.
Similarly, the family members of Naveen Kumar, son of Maha Singh — a resident of Jhajjar — are worried about their future as he was the only earning member of the family. “The future appears dark as there is little hope of any early release. He has two children… We could not meet and speak to him after the arrest on March 10,” Naveen’s brother said.
Deepak Singh, who had come from HIssar to know the fate of his friend, Jagdish, said he was distraught at the news of his conviction as everyone in the village expected him to be acquitted. “This is a fabricated case; the government wants to set an example, and, unfortunately, these workers have become scapegoats. They neither have money nor resources to fight the system,” he said.
The families of the convicts, however, hope for some relief on Saturday when the sentence is delivered. They also said they will move the high court against the verdict.