A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted to probe Wednesday’s labour unrest and fire incident in Maruti Suzuki India's Manesar plant, in which an official was burnt alive and over 50 employees were injured, officials said Thursday, according to an IANS report.
Haryana Chief Secretary PK Chaudhary said the SIT will be headed by the assistant commissioner of police, Gurgaon and that no one will be spared for taking law in his hand and resorting to violence. 'The police have arrested 99 persons in this connection,' Chaudhary said.
The SIT, headed by Ravinder Tomar, will include six inspector ranked officials and probe the incidents of violence and fire at Manesar plant, a police official said.
“Over 50 senior executives, including two Japanese, were injured and admitted to various private hospitals,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Maheshwar Dayal told reporters. Police were conducting raids to arrest the union leaders involved in the incidents, Dayal added.
The accused were Thursday presented before the court of Duty Magistrate Ritu Malik and were sent to judicial custody in jail. The person who died in the fire at the plant was identified as Ashwin Kumar Dev, General Manager of Maruti Suzuki's HR department. Dev hailed from Ranchi in Jharkhand, noted the report. Workers who were arrested have been accused of murder, attempt to murder and several other offences.
Fearing police action, workers of Maruti company Thursday remained absent from their duty. Though heavy police force was deployed at the plant, not a single agitator was in sight. Other employees and trade union activists also remained absent from the plant.
According to sources, hundreds of workers living in rented accommodation in villages near Maruti plant, vacated their rooms during Wednesday night and moved to as yet unknown places. The chief secretary noted that it was a minor scuffle between a worker and a supervisor which triggered the violence. It was not a labour issue, he said. The management did not expect that it would lead to such an ugly situation, he said.
Replying to a question on the possible impact of this incident on industrial investment in the state, Chaudhary said that complete harmony prevailed in the state and the government was determined to maintain good relations with both the management and the labour unions. On Wednesday thousands of protesting Maruti workers allegedly locked the main gates of the company’s plant at Manesar, trapping officials inside. The agitation erupted after the suspension of a worker, Jiyalal, who had allegedly slapped supervisor Manjhi over his casteist abuse. Director General of Haryana Police Ranjeev Singh Dalal and Deputy Commissioner Dayal visited the plant Thursday.
The DGP said this is serious act of criminality and 'we are going to take stern action against the guilty'. The vigilance team from Maruti also visited the plant. Captain Deepak Anand, who heads the vigilance department of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), said he will camp here till the matter is resolved. The control room and HR section of the company were completely destroyed in the fire.
Maruti Suzuki's latest plant at Manesar that manufactures some 1,200 cars per day on an average, has been specially designed for manufacturing diesel cars. Furthermore, the car maker has two plants in Gurgaon. Work at the Manesar plant had to be stopped. The Gurgaon plant operated normally, the report said.
It may be recalled that in September and October last year, production at Manesar plant was severely impacted due to labour unrest. Later, in the first week of November the then union leaders had resigned after accepting hefty dues. The current labour union (Maruti Suzuki Workers Union) headed by Rameshwar Singh was formed in March this year, added the report.