Conduct fresh probe into Maruti violence, demands rights group #Ileadindia

The old logo of Maruti Suzuki India Limited. L...


NEW DELHI, June 20, 2013


Mohammad Ali


Accuses police investigations of being a “farce, pro-management”


A year after violence broke out at Maruti Suzuki’s plant in Manesar, in which company HR manager Awanish Dev died and several others were injured, the People’s Union for Democratic Rights has termed the police enquiry into the episode a “farce” and demanded a fresh probe.


Arguing that the July violence should be seen in the context of history of unfair labour practices and workers’ struggle at Maruti, the rights group said: “What makes the Maruti story extraordinary is certainly not the company and its cars, but the extraordinary struggle of its workers that has continued despite ruthless repression by the management and the police and failure of the labour department and the judiciary to provide any justice to them.”


While releasing its fact-finding report highlighting the episode’s implications, the rights group has demanded that investigation into the July 18 incident carried out by the Haryana Police should be nullified and a fresh investigation initiated by an SIT comprising police officers drawn from other States.


Differing from the police version of the events about last year’s violence, PUDR alleged that a large number of workers and their family members were harassed by the cops in the course of a “deeply flawed” investigation.


“As a result of the police investigation, workers were arrested, jailed, and have been denied bail till date. The company at the same time terminated hundreds of workers accusing them of involvement in the incident well before the police investigation was completed,” said PUDR secretary Ashish Gupta.


“The Haryana Police have been consistently acting in a partisan manner favouring the management since the incident, and therefore cannot be entrusted with this task. The lack of an independent investigation into the incident has amounted to grave miscarriage of justice, which is why we are demanding investigations into the role of hired bouncers, who were present at the spot, and also that of the Haryana Police officers responsible for violation of legal guidelines regarding arrest and for custodial torture of arrestees, and harassment of their family members,” he said. The fact finding report highlights “collusion” of the Maruti management, administration and police in workers’ harassment.




Press Release- ‘Driving Force: Labour Struggles and Violation of Rights in Maruti Suzuki India Limited

People’s Union for Democratic Rights
23 May 2013
Press Release
Release of PUDR report ‘Driving Force: Labour Struggles and Violation of Rights in Maruti Suzuki India Limited’(May 2013) at Press Conference in Chandigarh
On18 July 2012 a violent incident occurred at the Manesar unit of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), in which an HR manager died and some other managers as well as workers were injured. Following reports of severe harassment of Maruti workers and their families in late July 2012, Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) began a fact-finding investigation into the incident, its context and implications. We are releasing our findings today in the form of a report ‘Driving Force: Labour Struggles and Violation of Rights in Maruti Suzuki India Limited’ (PUDR, May, 2013). This report follows PUDR’s two previous reports Hard Drive (2001) and Freewheelin’ Capital (2007) which recorded crucial moments of the labour struggle at Maruti. In the course of our fact finding, we have met or spoken to the workers (contract, permanent and terminated), the union leaders, their lawyer as well as officials from the labour department, Gurgaon, and different police officials. All attempts to meet the management turned out to be futile because it did not give us appointment for a meeting despite our persistent efforts.
PUDR’s findings, recorded in the report are as follows:
(1) The events of 18 July 2012 at Maruti’s Manesar unit are still heavily shrouded in ambiguity and the real culprits can be identified only if a thorough investigation is done by an independent agency which is not influenced by the management. The Haryana police have been consistently acting in a partisan manner favouring the management since the incident, and therefore cannot be entrusted with this task. The lack of an independent investigation into the incident has been amounting to a grave miscarriage of justice.
(2) In an absolute disregard for the rule of law, the entire blame for the incident was put on the workers not just by the management, but also the police and administration, long before the investigation was over. The nexus between the police and the management got exposed most starkly after the 18 July incident. The close correspondence between the FIR lodged by the police containing between 500 and 600 ‘unnamed accused’ and the termination of 546 workers by the company allegedly for being responsible for the violence on 18 July, cannot be a coincidence. It shows exactly how closely the police are protecting the company’s interests.
(3) This presumption of guilt governed the manner in which the police acted after the incident. The police arbitrarily arrested a large number of workers not through an investigation, but on the basis of lists provided by the management targeting the workers who were vocal, articulate and active in the union, subjected the arrested workers to brutal torture, violated the constitutional safeguards regarding detention and arrests and harassed the family members of the workers. Not only this it has been continuing to intimidate, target and attack the on going struggle of the terminated and other workers in order to silence and criminalise their legitimate protest (See Chapter Four). The scale of police action against workers seems to be aimed to act as a deterrent for any agitation in future – not only by these workers but also other workers in the Manesar and Gurgaon industrial
area. Most recently on 18 May 2013, the Haryana police imposed Section 144 CrPC in Kaithal and arrested around 150 workers peacefully protesting there since 24 March demanding release of arrested workers and reinstatement of terminated workers.
(4) Another example of the police colluding with the management is that it has in the course of investigating the incident completely ignored the discrepancies in the management’s account, the fact that the workers were also injured, the presence of bouncers in the premises, or the fact that Awanish Dev, was always considered by the workers to be sympathetic to them. In fact it is the workers’ who have been demanding an independent investigation into the incident, a demand which has been ignored by the state and the central government.
(5) We wish to assert that an investigation and trial based on preconceived notions and not on the basis of scientifically gathered evidence could mean that those responsible for Awanish Dev’s death will go scot free and innocents will be penalised. A close look at the charge sheet filed by the police and denial of bail to the arrested workers shows that the case is moving in this very direction. This would amount to a travesty of law and denial of justice not only to the workers, but also to Awanish Dev.
(6) The incident should be seen in the context of the long chain of events that preceded it. It can be understood in the light of the continuous tension and conflict in the unit between the management and the workers as well as their persistent struggle of workers of the Manesar unit to register a union and draw attention to their inhuman working conditions.
(7) In September 2011, the Maruti management at the Manesar unit imposed a condition that the workers could enter the plant for work only after signing a ‘good conduct’ undertaking. The ‘good conduct’ undertaking effectively takes away the right of the workers to go on a legal strike, a right guaranteed by the Industrial Disputes Act (25T, 25U read with the Fifth Schedule); this also amounts to unfair labour practice as per Section 8, Fifth Schedule, IDA. (See Chapter Three)
(8) Like all other corporates, the main driving factor in Maruti is reducing production costs, maximising profits and competing against other companies. Maruti’s expenditure on workers is among the lowest in automobile companies. Moreover the company adopts various measures to extract maximum work from itsworkers. At Maruti therefore, the production capability and targets are set considerably higher than the installed capacity, i.e., production capability of the company is 1.55 million units per annum even though installed capacity is 1.26 units per annum (Annual Report, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, 2011- 12). Workers are made to work non stop like robots for eight and a half hours, with a break of only 30 minutes for lunch and two tea breaks of 7 minutes each. For years, workers have been made to both report for duty 15 minutes before shift-time and also work for 15 minutes extra every day without any overtime payment. Further the policy on leave is very stringent and the leave record is directly linked to the wages which are deducted on account of any leave taken. This contributes to the regime of ceaseless production and drastic increase in work pressure on the Maruti shopfloors.
(9) The wage deductions on account of leave are made from the incentive-linked part of the wages of Maruti workers, under the Production-Performance-Reward Scheme. A single leave taken by a permanent worker, with permission from the supervisor, could also cost him a loss of Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1500. Both before and after the 18 July 2012 incident, a part of the wages is fixed, and a major component paid as incentive wages linked to production, profit and leave records, which makes the wages fluctuating. Norms of incentive linked
wages have been arbitrarily fixed and changed by the management at Maruti’s Manesar plant. (See Chapter Two and Three)
(10) Maruti management especially at Manesar have been resorting to use of temporary and contract labour as a norm, for regular work. In July 2012, according to figures tabulated by the Labour Department, less than 25% of the workers at Manesar were permanent. These workers are paid only for the days they work (i.e., 26 days a month) and considerably less than the permanent workers, for doing the same work. Not only is this a major cost cutting measure but it secures for the company a more vulnerable, disempowered and pliant work-force, less likely to be vocal and demand their rights. The company’s announced after the 18 July incident, that it will regularise its workers. This is yet to materialise. (See Chapter Two)
(11) The Maruti management has also consistently violated the workers’ rights by creating hurdles and actively preventing them from organising themselves. The policy of the Maruti management not to let the workers unionise, is a violation of the Indian Trade Union Act (1926). Since mid-2011, as the workers’ struggle intensified, the management has responded by targeting active workers through suspensions, terminations and registration of false cases against them. Once the union got registered, its members and coordinators have faced similar or worse harassment. All the union leaders and many active members were implicated in the 18 July incident leading to complete breakdown of the union and making the workers vulnerable as they have lost all avenues of negotiation with the management. A large number of active workers were subsequently terminated by the company, as mentioned, because the company arbitrarily held them responsible for the 18 July incident. After forcibly removing the union from the unit, the company is now making a farcical gesture towards dealing with workers’ issues, by setting up a joint worker-management ‘grievance committee’ and compelling the workers to be a part of it. The legally registered union (MSWU) whose members are continuing to take up workers’ issues are not being allowed to function inside the unit.
(12) The Haryana Labour Department has connived with the management in depriving the workers their right to unionise. In August 2011, it rejected the pending application of the workers for registration, citing technical grounds. Effectively, an application for registration filed on 3 June 2011, resulted in actual registration of the union on 1 March 2012, after months of fraught struggle. Moreover the Labour Department does not appear to have ever intervened in support of workers’ rights in the labour disputes at Maruti. When the management deducted Maruti Manesar workers’ wages on account of the lockout of 2011, by describing it as a strike, or when the management failed to act upon the Charter of Demands of workers in 2012, the Labour Department did not intervene. It has failed to question the management on its use of dubious and unfair labour practices, the ‘good conduct undertaking’ or the use of contract labour for regular work. (See Chapter Three)
(13) One of the notable features of the recent labour struggles at Maruti’s Manesar unit has been an unprecedented unity between permanent and contract workers. The labour union has consistently taken up issues pertaining to the contract workers. One of the main demands from the beginning of the struggle has been the regularisation of contract workers. The terminated workers who have regrouped under the MSWU include both permanent and contract workers. Contract workers are also among those who have been held guilty of the violence on 18 July and are now in jail.
What makes the Maruti story extraordinary is certainly not the company and its cars but the extraordinary struggle of its workers that has continued inspite of ruthless repression by the
management and the police and failure of the labour department and the judiciary at all levels to provide any justice to them. Above all, the workers have tenaciously fought for their political right to form their own union. The struggle has also concentrated on creating democratic structures within the union, and through these, finding ways of articulating their grievances regarding the highly exploitative labour regime.
PUDR demands that:
1. An independent and unbiased judicial enquiry should be initiated into the events that led to the death of Awanish Dev. The judge nominated should be someone both parties are agreeable to.
2. The police investigation into the 18 July incident carried out by police officers of Haryana should be nullified and a fresh investigation be initiated, by an SIT comprising police drawn from other states.
3. The role of hired bouncers that led to the precipitation of the events at the spot be investigated.
4. The Haryana police officials, responsible for violation of legal guidelines regarding arrest and for custodial torture of arrestees, and harassment of their family members be identified and criminally prosecuted.
5. Re-instatement of all workers should be ensured in the absence of definite evidence of their involvement.
6. Role of the labour department should be investigated and action should be taken against the officials for not fulfilling their obligations related to labour laws.
7. All the workers arrested for the 18 July incident should be immediately granted bail. The trial into the incident should be speedily done and those not guilty should be acquitted.
8. Workers’ right to have their independent union be restored at Maruti. The MSWU which is the legally recognised union of the Maruti Manesar unit should be allowed to function inside the plant with immediate effect.
9. All the contract workers both at Manesar and Gurgaon unit be immediately regularised and practice of hiring contract workers for regular work should be stopped.
10. The rights of workers guaranteed in law be enforced at Maruti with immediate effect.
D. Manjit
Asish Gupta
Secretaries, PUDR


Haryana Governor- intervene to prevent violence and repression in Kaithal


The Governer


Dear Sir,

We are deeply disturbed at the news that around 120-50 Maruti Suzuki workers present in the dharna site in Kaithal on 18. 05.2013 night, have been picked up by the Haryana Police around 11.30 pm. It is a matter of extreme anguish in the way the present government of Haryana is allowing the repression of workers struggles and to punish those who are sympathetic to them.

We would like to bring to your notice that Maruti Workers’ Union had announced a Gherao in Kaithal tomorrow at the residence of Industries Minister – the government has responded by clamping down section 144 and has deployed policemen all over the town. This is likely to result in violence as the workers and their supporters are travelling long distances to show their solidarity and unnecessary repression of their planned programme is not going to generate positive feelings.

Already the stand off in Maruti has continued too long because of the unrelenting ways of the police and administration who are keeping hundreds of workers in jail and are ready to make fresh arrests in the murder case by keeping the charge sheet open.

Now the government has spread its tentacles to exclude 93 Gram Sabhas from Government aid because the Sarpanchs expressed solidarity with the union. This impinges directly on the democratic rights of the villagers. They are free to associate as per Indian Constitution.

Such pro-management measures on part of a democratically elected government are not acceptable. It is meant to safeguard the interests of Indian citizens particularly the economically weaker sections and not override all constitutional guarantees in the interest of foreign capital.

Please take urgent measures and ask the Chief Minister to exercise restraint and not crush the Dharna of the union. The need of the hour is for confidence building not further destruction of faith in lawful processes which have suffered a setback in all these months of joblessness and victimization of workers.

We demand immediate stop to any repressive actions on the part of the present government.

Release of all the workers detained and ask the government to set up a non-partisan mechanism to address workers’ grievances


issued by feminist group, women against sexual violence, human rights activists, orgtanistaions and individuals


Press Release- Uphold the Maruti Worker’s right to protest #humanrights

Press Statement

Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi (PUDR)


Imaan Khan, one of the active members of the Provisional Working Committee, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU ) was picked up by the Haryana police in the morning of January 24, just before a press conference of the union was to begin from outside the union office of Sarva Karmachari Sangh in Civil Lines, Gurgaon. The charges put against him are the same as those on the workers arrested for the July 18, 2012 incident which was happened in manesar plant, in which one of the HR Managers Awanish Dev had died. There is apprehension now of other active members of the provisional committee being picked up. This is possible because the FIR of the incident was against 500 unnamed accused.

It needs to be reiterated that 146 workers, including the entire union, are in jail for the last seven months and there are non-bailable arrest warrants against 66 more workers. Also 546 permanent and 1800 contract workers were terminated.

With the entire union body in jail, the provisional committee is actively questioning the actions of the illegal termination of workers, arbitrary arrests and in general state-management-police nexus. All are being met with a heavy hand to break the morale of the workers.

A week long program comprising of ‘JUSTICE RALLY’ through the villages and cities across Haryana was organized, by the committee from 21st January 2012, after all talks with the management and labor department for the reinstatement of terminated workers failed. The program culminated in a dharna in Rohtak on 27th January. During this period too, the workers participating in the jattha  were harassed, intimidated and finally forcibly picked up by the police from Bilaspur, cycles all 20 of workers’ were dumped into police vehicles and dropped off to a village in Jhajjhar. When the workers resisted by laying on the ground and holding on to each other, the police used force to remove them and gave threats of arrests and torture if they entered Gurgaon. The MSWU union office was raided January 22 and 23 January.

Even the family members of the workers are being continuously harassed, by repeatedly summoning to the police stations and pressurized to get the workers to stay out of organizing work. Workers inside the plant are being given transfer orders to far away places for supporting the agitation too. Transfer orders were handed out to 12 workers to Mumbai, Kerala and Gauhati. This amounts to a virtual dismissal since workers find it tough to relocate.

PUDR strongly condemns the continuous repression and persecution of the Maruti workers by the Haryana government. This repression is clearly aimed at preventing them from exercising their right to protest against unfair labour practices and for demanding their legitimate rights.

We in PUDR

  • Uphold the democratic right of the workers to protest and demand the immediate release of Imaan Khan, MSWU Provisional Working Committee member
  • Demand an early and complete inquiry into the death of the HR manager and other events of July 18 and urge the Haryana government not to use the case to arrest more workers justly struggling for their rights!
  • Prevail upon all other democratic forces to stand by the right of workers against the state, capital and management nexus for a more dignified life struggling workers and recognition of their just demands.

Ashish Gupta and D Manjit,

Secretaries (30th January, 2013)


Maruti Suzuki won’t take back sacked workers

 , TNN | Dec 25, 2012
NEW DELHIMaruti Suzuki has said it has no intention of taking back any of the 500-odd workers sacked for the July 18 carnage at its Manesar plant even as the Haryana Police has charged only around 150 workers.

Maruti chairman R C Bhargava has said that the company will not take them back as it has eyewitness accounts that all of them were involved in the July 18 rampage at Manesar, which left one senior manager dead and nearly 100 injured. “If people took part in violent activities, how do I take them back? They were part of the mob.”

The company went in for the mass layoffs after accumulating evidence against the workers. “It was done after a careful scrutiny. We have eyewitness accounts of our managers and supervisors who were attacked,” the company chairman said.

Maruti’s refusal to take back any of the fired staff is, however, objected to by the company’s labour union, which has been demanding the re-instatement of a majority , especially after they were not even named in the chargesheet filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to probe the matter.

“While the fate of those named by the police in its chargesheet will be decided by the court, there is no logic of not taking back the others. We see them as innocent and demand that the company take them back immediately,” said Kuldeep Jhangu, the general secretary of the company’s Gurgaon plant union Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union (MUKU).

MUKU had also raised the matter with Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki when he had visited India in the aftermath of the incident. However, the company had not given any assurance on the matter.

Maruti Suzuki has also raised doubts over the findings of the SIT probe, which had said the violent events at the plant were not instigated from outside, but were due to internal issues between the management and workers.


Press Release-Auto Workers convention @9dec #Delhi


Registration No. 1923

IMT Manesar



Press Release: 8 December 2012

As you know, we from Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) have called for an Auto Workers CONVENTION on 9th December 2012 in Ambedkar Bhavan, Jhandewalan, New Delhi with common demands of auto workers in NCR industrial belt.


This program with our legitimate demands has been declared one week back, for which we have given due information for permission to the PMO and the Paharganj police station and have received copies of the same. But Haryana and Delhi government administration through the use of Police of both the states, along with CID Haryana has come down heavily on us for raising our legal and legitimate demands. They have denied us permission to hold the Convention in the evening today with the imagined reason that this will disrupt peace in the area. And since last two days, Haryana Police and CID has been calling on us and our parents and relatives to strongly threaten against holding this program and any such program in the future, or force will be used against us.


We condemn this direct attack on our democratic right guaranteed under the Indian Constitution by the joint forces of Haryana and Delhi government administration through the naked use of force in the service of the Maruti Suzuki management. And with what we have seen in the last four months, this is nothing new to us now, as the police and government administration have nakedly sided with the company management in their attempt to crush our voice of truth.

We appeal to all concerned with democratic rights and our just struggle to stand by us as we will go ahead with the declared program tomorrow and similar programs in the near future. Our fellow workers from across Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal-Noida-Faridabad-Ghaziabad industrial belt will join us and strengthen our struggle.


Condemning the police and administrative action against us, we reiterate our demands:

1. In the permanent nature of work in the auto sector in Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal-Faridabad-Noida-Ghaziabad industrial region, completely abolish the illegal contract worker system by the year 2013. Till they are not made permanent, all workers in the auto sector in this region should be given minimum wage of Rs.15,000.

2. All permanent workers in the auto sector must be given minimum wage of Rs.25000.

3. Unions must be formed in the auto belt industrial region. Within 45 days of application for registration of Trade Union, the concerned labour department must ensure the registration of the Trade Union with due process.

4. The High Court order in favour of workers of Eastern Medikit must be immediately implemented and the illegal lockout be ended. Take back all the workers of Eastern Medkit and ensure payment of due wages.

5. Along with all the 546 illegally terminated workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar, all the contract workers must be immediately taken back to work.

6. All the arrested workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar must be immediately released, the false cases withdrawn and stop the repression and torture of workers.


Sincere Regards,

Provisional Working Committee


Program details:
Date: 9 December 2012; 11am to 6pm.
Place: Ambedkar Bhavan, Panchkuiyan Road, near Jhandewalan Metro Station, New Delhi


Contact: Imaan Khan- 09467704883, Ramnivas- 08901127876, Omprakash-08607154232, Mahavir-09560564754,Yogesh- 08510043143, Katar Singh-09728778870, Rajpal- 09555425175



#India- 21-year-old Wrestler shot by trigger-happy cops

New Delhi on saturday, a day after he was shot at by the Haryana Police in an encounter
Saurabh Duggal, Hindustan Times, and  Ananya Bhradwaj in Indian Express
Chandigarh, December 01, 2012

The confusion over the registration number of a car has resulted in the Haryana Police putting a question mark on a wrestler’s future. The information with the police was that a gang was travelling in the Verna bearing a Punjab number.

Acting on the tip-off, the police team fired
at the vehicle, which instead had the national campers, near the northern Sports Authority of India Centre in Sonepat on Wednesday night. 

Junior international wrestler Gurpal Singh was shot in the back while two other national campers, Manav and Surajbir, had a narrow escape.

The cops fired five rounds, three of which hit the dashboard, while one smashed the car’s taillight and another hit Gurpal. “Gurpal and the other campers had gone to Sonepat after attending the evening training session at the SAI Centre in Bahalgarh. On the way back, they were intercepted by an armed Haryana Police team in plain clothes.

“Without disclosing their identity, they asked the trio to step out of the car. Thinking that they were going to be robbed, the wrestlers tried to speed away. This made the cops suspicious and they opened fire, and one bullet hit Gurpal,” Raj Singh, secretary general, Wrestling Federation of India, told HT. “The wrestlers went back to the SAI Centre where coaches and doctors rushed Gurpal to the Jaipur Golden Hospital. Fortunately, the impact of the bullet was reduced as it had hit a windowpane, and the wound is not deep,” he added. Gurpal (96kg freestyle) is the nephew of legendary wrestler Kartar Singh.

“It is unprofessional on the part of the Haryana Police, and the incident could have been worse. The team should have disclosed their identity when they stopped the wrestlers,” said Kartar, who is also an IPS officer.

“A case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of Gurpal Singh. We are looking into the matter and one of my senior officers is investigating the case,” said Arun Nehra, superintendent of police, Sonepat


Gurpal Singh’s skill caught the attention of Wrestling Federation of India and he was called up for the camp near Sonepat.

His first senior national tournament had ended in disappointment as Gurpal, a BA-I student, finished ninth at the National Wrestling Championship in Ranchi two years ago. The following year, at the 34th National Games in Ranchi, he claimed a bronze medal. Before the national games, Gurpal had won gold in the junior national championship held in Jammu.

Born in Sur Singh village in Tarn Taran district, Punjab, Gurpal was seen as a flag-bearer of the family tradition of wrestling. Gurpal was coached by his father at the village akhara when he was 16.

Father Sarwan, an IPS officer, took leave without pay for three years to train Gurpal. The hard work paid off as Gurpal made heads turn with a gold medal at his first ever sub-junior national championship at Jalandhar in 2008.

He started in 120-kg category and finally settled for the 96-kg category on the suggestion of uncle Kartar. Gurpal had also competed in few invitational tournaments in Uzbekistan and Australia.

He won the under-17 National Wrestling Championship; the Junior under-19 National Championship; and the Australia Cup in 2008. He won a bronze in the senior National Games.


India- Dalit woman gang-raped at gunpoint, then filmed #VAW


TNN and NDTV  | Sep 27, 2012,

PILLU KHERA (JIND): Haryana is rapidly climbing up the gender crime graph in India. A week after the rape of a dalit schoolgirl rocked Hisar, another case of gangrape came to light on Wednesday – a  30 yeard old Dalit woman and mother  of sic year old girl  has been gang-raped in her home at gunpoint. The attack in the Jind district was also filmed on a phone camera and the MMS was circulated in her village.

The police said that two of the three alleged rapists have been arrested.. In the earlier case of gangrape of a 16-year-old girl in Hisar’s Dabra village, after which the victim’s father committed suicide, the main accused are yet to be nabbed. The Jind rape caught media attention on Wednesday after a few villagers protested against police inaction and approached the SSP.

According to police, the woman in Jind, originally a resident of Dharoli village, was gang-raped around noon when she was alone at her house. Her daughter returned from school and found the house bolted from inside and heard her mother cry. She peeped inside and saw her mother surrounded by the three men. Neighbours were alerted when the girl started screaming for help but the assailants escaped. The neighbours simply went back and didn’t call the cops.

Pillu Khera police said the victim came to the station that evening accompanied by her husband, a mason and gave a statement, naming two of the three youths as sons of Azad Singh, an upper caste man, and Mahavir Singh, a dalit from Dharoli. Head constable Mahender Singh said a case was registered under Section 376 (rape) of IPC and a manhunt has been launched.

Jind SSP Saurabh Singh said one of the accused Suraj Kumar, son of Mahavir Singh and Sandeep’s father Azad Singh were arrested on Wednesday. Azad has been accused of sheltering his son, who is absconding.

Regarding the MMS clip made by the accused, the SSP said, “As of now, the police do not have any material evidence. Still, we are invest-igating and if we get any proof, we will slap charges.” He said the victim’s family has also sought police protection on Wednesday.

Seven more arrested for Hisar gangrape

Meanwhile, Haryana police on Wednesday arrested seven people in connection with a 16-year-old dalit girl’s gangrape in Hisar district‘s Dabra village on September 9. But the main accused, Mahender, who is said to wield political clout in the region, remains on the run.

Police said the seven were arrested from Almora of Uttarakhand. “Nine accused in the case have been arrested now. Two of them were nabbed two days back. Rest of the accused will be arrested soon,” said DGP Ranjiv Singh Dalal. He said that the Hisar superintendent of police had been directed to approach the district and sessions judge with a request to set up a fast track court to hear the case.


Press release of protest by families and relatives of Maruti Suzuki workers

Press Release 

On 2nd September 2012, over 400 relatives and families of workers of Maruti Suzuki protested against the arrests, torture and termination of workers, and demanded immediate release and work for all workers. The families and relatives who came from all across Harayana– Hisar, Rohtak, Jind, Kaithal, Narwana, Gurgaon, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, as well as from U.P., Punjab, Himachal, Rajasthan wanted to meet Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, but were dissapointed when the Police Commissioner and a huge contingent of Haryana Police blocked and disallowed us our right to do so. It became clear to all that the government and police is continuing to act against the interests of common people and workers and their families, and acting in complete favour of the Suzuki management. The families gave a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the D.C. Rohtak after demonstrating in front of his office.

In the meeting, workers relatives put across their view. Suresh’s brother said that police torture was meted out to the workers on direction of the management, and asked why the government is acting in the management’s favour. Ramvilas’s uncle Ramesh said even the family members were not spared. Sushma said proper investigation should be done about the management’s role in the incident. Jagbir said how his son was awarded ‘best worker’ twice by the company itself, and now has put him in jail and all workers are being called criminals even when investigation has not taken place. That the government is not giving any respect to workers or their families came out of all the protestors.

In the demonstration, banners of ‘Maruti Suzuki workers Union’’s families and solidarity committee were there. Posters and slogans like ‘All workers are innocent, immediately release all workers’, ‘Company-Government-police stop harassment of workers’, ‘Hooda government answer us, respect workers families’, ‘punish the guilty managament of maruti suzuki’ were made.

The demands put forward are-
1. Immediately release all workers arrested from the night of 18th July on.
2. Register cases of conspiracy and death on the management of Maruti Suzuki.
3. Take back to work all 546 terminated workers.
4. Punish the police officials who are harassing and torturing workers and their families.
5. Take action against factory management who are fluting labour laws.

Signed/- Avtar Singh, Kurukshetra and Pramod kr, Sonepat, Haryana

1. Press Release from relatives of Maruti workers (in Hindi)
2. Memorandum submitted by relatives of workers (in Hindi)


Death and the Factory:The Casualties of Maruti Suzuki, Manesar.


eath and the Factory:The Casualties of Maruti Suzuki, Manesar.
JULY 26, 2012
tags: Class War, Death, Fire, Manesar, Maruti-Suzuki
by Shuddhabrata Sengupta

Factories kill people. Occasionally, those who die belong to the
management. Usually, they are workers.

On the first of May, (International Labour Day) 2009, several workers
at the Lakhani Shoe Factory in Faridabad, Haryana, were struck by a
ball of fire, which engulfed them before they could run to save their
lives. The fire, caused by willful neglect of elementary safety
procedures, did not result in criminal charges being framed against
the management or proprietors of the Lakhani Vardaan Group, which owns
the Lakhani Shoes Factory.

A report in the Gurgaon Workers News (No.9/18) has this account of the fire –

“On 1st of May 2009 the Lakhani Shoes factory, plot 122 in Faridabad
Sector 24 caught fire, the newspapers first wrote of six, then of ten,
then of fifteen dead workers. Lakhani is said to be the country’s
largest maker and exporter of canvas and vulcanised shoes, has two
dozen units in the district. A younger worker who is employed in a
neighbouring factory came to Faridabad Majdoor Library three days
later. He said that it is more than likely that 50 – 100 or more
workers have been killed. A boiler on the first floor exploded, the
floor collapsed and buried many workers who were waiting for their
over-time payment in the basement. He said that he saw at least 100
burnt bicycles outside the factory. He met a landlord in industrial
village Mujesar who said that his three tenants, employed at Lakhani
haven’t returned. He met an older woman whose son is still missing.
Most of these workers were not officially employed, their names were
not on the Lakhani pay-roll. Many of them were from Nepal and single,
meaning that they were not immediately reported missing by their
families. From the reported 38 workers who were brought to various
hospitals – in Faridabad there is no hospital for severe burn
treatment – only one worker had an official ESI health insurance
number. The rest is unknown.”

Bodies burnt to cinders are difficult to identify, unless they leave
behind distinct identifying objects, like gold teeth. DNA matches are
possible to do if there are records of relatives. None of the workers
at the Lakhani fire had gold teeth. Many of them were contract
workers, nobody knew who their relatives were. They were incinerated
without trace.

On the 20th of July 2012, a charred body found at the site of an
incident of alleged mob violence the evening before (19th July) by the
workers of Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s Manesar plant was identified
as that of Awanish Kumar Dev, a manager in the Human Resources
department of the Maruti Suzuki Manesar Plant. Mr. Dev had a gold
tooth. DNA samples were also taken and these proved his identity when
matched with DNA samples taken from his immediate family. His family’s
agony, while waiting for confirmation of the identity of the deceased,
can not be imagined. Imagine the agony of the relatives of some of the
evaporated workers of Lakhani shoes.

Several posts in Kafila have gone into the background of the tragic
incident of Mr. Dev’s death in Manesar in some detail. We have
guest-posts from the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union, and posts from
Aman Sethi, Aditya Nigam and Anumeha Yadav. Each of these has been
useful in thinking through this thorny and intractable issue. In the
interests of economy, I will try and not repeat what they have said
already. My concern is death, and the meaning of death, especially
when it happens in and around a factory.

Since the day of the confirmation of the unfortunate and condemnable
death of Awanish Kumar Dev, a sad casualty of the ongoing class
conflict in north Indian Industrial heartland of Haryana, we have
witnessed tsunami of rage from those who view the killing of a manager
in a factory as a calamity. Regrettably, sometimes the most terrible
of tragedies (and the death of Mr. Dev is no doubt a profound human
tragedy for his family and friends) becomes an instrument for larger
and more impersonal agendas.

When a fire engulfs a factory, the body of those trapped inside burns
in the same way, regardless of who they are. Suffocation due to smoke
does the same things to the lungs, regardless of whether the lungs
belong to a worker or a manager. When the results of an inferno are
the same, we need to think about why the consequences of two fires are
so different ? What makes the victim of an alleged act of arson more
worthy of mourning than the victims of an instance of willful neglect?
We have heard a lot about one fire in Manesar in the past few days.
Why have we heard so little about another fire in Faridabad over the
last three years?

As I write, ninety one workers of the Maruti-Suzuki factory in Manesar
have been sent into judicial custody and are currently in Bhondsi
Jail. The Haryana police are looking for five hundred unnamed others.

The magistrate, in an unusual departure from procedure, delivered her
decision to send the workers into judicial custody in a police
station. The accused in any case are supposed to be presented before
magistrates so that they can record their statements without fear or
coercion, thereby enabling the magistrate to take a clear preliminary
view of their culpability. Here, since it was a manager in a company
as important as Maruti Suzuki that had died, it seems that the
magistrate, police, and the Haryana government found it fit that
normal procedure be kept in abeyance. Ministers (of the government of
Haryana and the centre) made statements. Narendra Modi (as befits a
prime minister in waiting) went to Japan and invited Suzuki
Corporation to sup at his table. Editorial writers polished their
turns of phrase. Captains of industry called for ruthless measures.
Notwithstanding the Maoists’ well known contempt for the industrial
proletariat, The ministry of home affairs hinted at the involvement of
Maoists. Angry, righteous and right-wing bloggers and television
commentators found a made-to-order opportunity to ventilate their well
honed class-hatred against workers. Everyone who mattered, seemed to
want to scrap labour laws.

Meanwhile, a lawyer representing the accused in a communication to me
yesterday said that many of the young workers who are currently being
held in Bhondsi jail were not even in the factory at the time that the
unfortunate incidents of violence occurred, as their shift had not yet
started. The matter of timing and presence, so crucial as evidence in
an ordinary criminal trial is a minor and dispensable detail in this
extraordinary case. What matters is that ninety one young workers are
in jail, currently being persuaded by the Haryana Police to implicate
themselves in this tragedy, so that the angry bloggers, captains of
industry, editorial writers and the good and the great of this land
can have their moment of outrage. Perhaps a Maoist or two or three
will be discovered amongst them by the Ministry of Home Affairs, with
the same diligence with which it has recently found Maoist spirits
lurking within the bodies of dead children in Cchatisgarh.

The Haryana Police is combing the country side around Manesar, and
further afield. The Haryana Police is not known for its gentle
investigative procedures. It is going to the tenements that workers
(many of them migrant) live in, in the villages around Manesar, in
Rohtak and Jhajjhar. They are threatening anyone they can. Families
are being told that unless they give up their sons, they will be held
responsible, and that the police will not hold themselves responsible
for what they do to make them give up their sons.

This one sad, unnecessary and unfortunate death has set back the gains
of more than a year of a non-violent, disciplined intelligent and
militant workers struggle at Maruti-Suzuki by decades. It will take
time to know what exactly happened. Perhaps it will take an eternity.
Who lit the fire? What angry words were said? What provocations, if
any, were present that made the workers lose their careful and
disciplined resolve (that was so visible throughout last year) not to
give in to the temptation of violence? Were there, as has been alleged
by some workers, agent-provocateurs brought in by the management who
lit the first spark? Why is it being said that those who started the
fight did not recognize known leaders of the union? Did someone from
the management pull a gun? Or is this all idle rumor mongering?
Perhaps we will never know the exact truth. The truth is most likely
to be the first thing that will be buried under the mountain of
‘statements’ and ‘confessions’ that will now be harvested by the
‘brave-hearts’ of the Haryana Police in Bhondsi Jail.

But one thing can be said for certain. The exemplary solidarity
between permanent, contracted (thekedari) and casual workers at the
Maruti Plant at Manesar stands threatened today by the climate of fear
that the state and the management will use to divide the workers of
Manesar at every step from now onwards. In situations of class war,
as in chess, the fall of a piece need not mean victory for the
opposing side. A manager is dead, and workers are check-mated in
Manesar. Factories kill people, especially those who enter their gates
in search of a living. Sometimes they kill suddenly, sometimes, they
take their time.

As some one once said. “Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like,
only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more
labour it sucks.“

A living wage is harder to come by than death on the cheap.

Three years ago, in October 2009, a twenty six year old worker called
Ajit Yadav was killed in cold blood by police and thugs hired by the
management at a picket outside the F.C.C Rico Factory, also in

There had been a dispute. When is there not a dispute? Workers were
picketing the factory, legally, in support of their demands, and had
won a judicial order that allowed them to set up their protest at a
distance of 50 metros from the factory gate. The management decided to
use force to lift the picket. Ajit Yadav died. At first the police
refused to file an FIR. Eventually, an FIR was filed, but the time of
its filing was changed, and another complaint was inserted at the
behest of the management that made it out that workers attacked the
management. The management’s complaint could be given priority.

One hundred thousand workers from the Gurgaon Manesar industrial belt
went on strike. Two people were arrested, but workers allege that not
a single person actually associated with the crime was detained. Some
workers were also held on general charges of rioting. But nothing
happened about Ajit Yadav’s killing. No one from the management was
even questioned. The case dragged on in court. Witnesses turned
hostile. Money changed hands. The management, which had heaped abuse
at Ajit Yadav only days before, offered ‘compensation’ and
‘condolences’ to his family. An agreement was reached, brokered by the
labour department. Peace returned to the Rico Factory, over the dead
body of Ajit Yadav. Reportedly, The HR manager and the police officers
associated with this case have all been promoted. There were no pious
editorials. No angry blog posts calling for hanging the culprits of
Ajit Yadav’s death. The captains of industry were on Diwali vacation.
No minister made a statement. It did not make breaking news. Ajit
Yadav was not Awanish Kumar Dev.

Ajit Yadav is not the only other casualty in the roster of workers and
those who have acted in workers interests who have fallen to
management’s moves. We could add the names of M. Murali Mohan, a
worker and labour organizer at Regency Ceramics, Yanam, (an enclave of
Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh) who was killed while being on a picket
outside his factory by police that acted at the behest of management.
Workers retaliated by rioting, which led to the death of a manager. A
key pawn was taken, and a knight sacrificed. Capital played its next

We could add the name of Sunil Pal, labour activist, close to CPI (ML
– Liberation) in the mining industry who was shot dead by ‘ unknown
miscreants’ in Haripur, Burdwan, West Bengal, allegedly by CPI(M)
cadre. We could add the names of popular theatre artist and CPI(M)
activist Safdar Hashmi and CITU member Ram Bahadur, whose Congress
Party linked killers were convicted fourteen long years after the
death of Hashmi and Bahadur in Sahibabad, UP. Other well known ‘cold
cases’ include the assassinations of independent trade union leaders
Datta Samant and Shankar Guha Niyogi. In none of these cases was the
involvement of management interests ever probed in any great detail.
In the Shankar Guha Niyogi, case, despite overwhelming evidence, the
industrialists suspected of conspiring to kill him were acquitted,
only Paltan Mallah, the lone hired killer who pulled the trigger at
their bidding is doing time in jail. There have been police firings on
peaceful workers protests in Faridabad (the infamous Neelam Chowk
firing of 1979) and massacre of workers of the Swadeshi Cotton Mills
in Kanpur (1977), or more recent incidents like the harsh assaults
like the attack by police on striking Honda workers in 2005, but the
memory of these incidents never stains the commentariat’s angry
denunciation of working class behavior.

Even Maruti’s own history is marred by an earlier episode of violence
where the victims were clearly workers, not management. During the
strike in the Maruti factory in Gurgaon in 2000, two workers – water
pump operator, Chander Bhan, fifty six, and Rajesh Kumar, a twenty
year old apprentice died mysteriously on the same day, (October 18th)
while a third , thirty nine year old draftsman Anand Singh Bohra, was
committed to a psychiatric ward in a hospital the following day. All
three workers had been forcibly detaine (along with several others)
within the factory premises for several days in order to continue
production while the strike continued. Chander Bhan was declared dead
on arrival in the hospital and Rajesh’s dead body was found ten
kilometers away from the factory. The union was denied access to post
mortem reports and no member of the management was ever investigated
for these mysterious deaths.

Death does not come to the factory riding only bullets and the lethal
blows of police lathis. It comes casually, with the accident, or in
solitude, with suicide. Across the world, there is a growing incidence
of workplace deaths.

China leads the world in work place suicides. Closely followed by
Japan and South Korea. The US recorded 5,734 workplace deaths due to
traumatic injuries in 2005 while in the same year, there were 1097
workplace deaths in Canada. An average of 1,376 people die each year
in industrial or workplace accidents in Italy. In India, the
government figure of 668 total workplace fatalities (last recorded for
2009) seems to be a strong case of under-reporting, especially as the
majority of workers are not permanent and so do not show up on
records. ILO estimates suggest that the gross under-reporting of
Industrial accidents in India actually hides some of the highest
industrial accident fatality figures in the world. According to
“Decent Work – Safe Work, ILO Introductory Report to the XVIIth World
Congress on Safety and Health at Work”, released in September 2005,
India could have as many as 40,000 deaths per year due to industrial
accidents alone.

Devastating fires, like the one at the Lakhani factory in Faridabad,
which (officially )killed 15 workers on the 1st of May 2009 are far
more frequent than they need to be.

Let us look at one ‘accidental’ death. Mohammad Rabban, a garment
worker employed at the Medolama Factory, in Gurgaon died an utterly
unnecessary death on the 17th of January, 2011 . Here is an excerpt
from a report in the Gurgaon Workers News of January 2011. This death
was referred to in an earlier Kafila post – ‘The Republic of
Exploitation‘ uploaded by Sunalini Kumar on January 27, 2011.

“At around 3am on the morning of 16th January or, the 15th night’s
overtime, 17 and-a-half hours into continuous sewing and stitching for
the 21hour shift, sitting on his iron stool, Md. Rabban, died
instantly of electrocution through one of the live wires protruding
out of the production line in the garment factory, Modelama Exports in
Plot no.105-106, Phase 1, Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon.

Md. Rabban, who had been working, sampling, stitching, sewing,
washing, ironing and producing clothes for Modelama, for the past more
than 7 years and in the 105 unit since its production started three
and-half years back, hailed from Muzaffarpur, Bihar, and was paid the
measly minimum wage of Rs.4200 (after the cuts for ESI, PF, and the
‘breaks’, from Rs. 4800). As usual, on 15 January also, Rabban reached
in the morning 9.30 am shift to start his day on the production line
to work till 6.30am the next day, to resume work again at 9.30am.
There were two breaks of half-hour each at 1.30-2pm, and then again at
6.30-7 (which workers pay for themselves, and for which wage is
deducted from the workers themselves), a dinner break from 8.30-9.30pm
(tasteless stale food in the canteen, for which the company pays a
mere Rs.20), and then a next chai break at 2.30-3am. Ten minutes later
into resuming work, at around 3.10am, in the overtime and already 17
hours into work, one of the live wires protruding out in front of his
machine, electrocuted Rabban as his hand was caught in between the
line. A number of complaints were regularly made about the safety
conditions and specially about the leak in the current in the electric
machines in the production line, and nothing as would cost the company
was done about it. The usual thing that does get done in such
situations by the management is the ‘management’ of the body, i.e. to
wipe it out of sight, as workers recall earlier incidents of the
sweeper in the morning sweeping out litres of blood on occasions of
the death of workers due to over-work, clash with management etc.
However, before any such ‘cleansing’ attempt, the around 80 workers in
the production line who witnessed the incident, made an uproar, and
tried to help their saathi/work-mate. There was a cry for immediately
taking Rabban to the hospital, and because the company had neither
doctors nor an ambulance for such (frequently occuring) situation, and
was also unwilling to spare its own cars, the workers offered to take
him themselves to the hospital in a hired car in front of the company
and were pooling in the Rs.1500 required for the transport. Sensing
the workers reaction, the management (the supervisor and other staff)
shut production immediately, took possession of the body, and took him
to the hospital where he was declared brought dead, and then to the
morgue after post-mortem, and with an rapidity which only came later,
also took the body to the Nizamuddin cemetry and buried him. The
police was informed and an F.I.R registered under Sec.304-A which
declared it a freak ‘accident’.

Meanwhile the workers of the production line, were joined by those
coming in for the morning shift, and anger erupted outside the closed
gates of the factory, with over a thousand workers pelting stones and
breaking the sleek glass front of the company. The low pay, the single
overtime, the non-payment of back wages, the no-offs strictness, the
continued and regular harassment in the form of abuse and even slaps
and beatings, the strong surveillance in the from of
finger-print/biometric entry and the CCTV cameras at every nook and
line with the suspicion of workers-as-thieves while clearly it is the
other way round, all took form in this solidarity action. Workers of
other companies in the area going for their morning shifts also joined
in to express their solidarity and anger. Police was employed to
control the anger, and disperse the angry workers who demanded justice
for Rabban.

The company however came out much later, and made an oral statement
about the promised payment of Rs. 1lakh to the family of the deceased.
And by around 2pm on the 16th, the spontaneous wave of anger was
stifled with the threat of police, targetting-and-possible-suspension
and management-through-the-family. The next day’s newspapers reported
in an insignificant column, an accident in the Modelama company which
was resolved. Work remained suspended on the 16th. /on the 17th
morning, when workers got back to the company, after some initial
tension at the gates, work was resumed. however soon after, in many
departments, many workers again took up the previous day’s incident
and its sham resolution in a general uproar, which the management
stifled with selective representation of some workers, and a promised
50-50 joint-fund of workers and the company’s contribution which will
be paid to the family of Rabban. That it was a direct case of
negligence of the company was skirted and work was resumed again, not
after a fire broke out (it was unclear how, or by whom) in one of the
departments which took some time to be doused.

Read more here -


Previous Older Entries


Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists


Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,224 other subscribers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,869,779 hits


June 2023
%d bloggers like this: