Two days after violence and arson at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant in Haryana, India, which claimed the life of 49 year old Awanish Kumar Dev – General Manager Human Resources in the most gruesome manner, 91 workers have been sent to judicial custody, FIRs have been filed against 15 workers while an additional 13 have been pulled up for questioning. Meanwhile the plant has remain shut for the second consecutive day.
According to a post mortem report, the victim died due to suffocation, though he also received 100% burns over his body and was burnt beyond recognition. 100 others have been seriously injured. Awanish Kumar Dev received multiple fractures on both his legs and was hence unable to escape from the fire.
According to one of the hundreds of officials who were under attack, said, “I escaped in time. I was with seven of my colleagues , and we locked ourselves in the new press line tunnel for two hours when they came for us. There were these 300 workers in our section, and when they barged in on Wednesday after 6.30pm, they went for any tool they could get hold of, and came right for us. I was hit on my arm and I feared death, but I was lucky enough to survive with fractures. There is this under-constrcution press line, connecting line 1 to line 2. It is like a tunnel, underground. And we stayed in for two hours in the extreme heat, sweating all the time, until it finally ended. This was terrorism . I have always heard of terrorism, and how it feels like. This is how.”
In their defense, Ram Meher, President, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, said, “When the workers along with union representatives went to meet HR to demand against the supervisor and revoke the unjust suspension of the worker, the HR officials flatly refused to hear our arguments, and it was in no mood to resolve the issue amicably.”
One of the 250 security guards at the plant, who too witnessed this horrific act of Maruti Suzuki workers, said, “The workers gathered right here, just inside gate number 2. They had blocked the exits. This place was chock-a-block .” At the scene, one can see broken laptops, computers, TV screens, fans, air conditioners, and anything that could be broken. One can also see the weapons which were used by the hooligan workers to cause this unthinkable damage.
News of these mass arrests, arson, breakages and damages to company plant at Manesar came alongside information of MSIL shares plummeting to a two year low. The company incurred losses to the tune of Rs.90 crores in a single day. Maruti shares fell 8.9% causing company resulting in a loss of Rs.3,200 crores in the market cap in a single trading session on Thursday. At the time of writing this article, Maruti shares had recovered by 2% from yesterday’s fall.
Maruti is a giant in the auto industry and many vendors survive on the company. If production goes down allied business are hit practically immediately. Per day production loss at Maruti is estimated to be around Rs.90 crores. The Manesar plant sees production of their blockbuster models like Swift hatchback and Dzire sedan. There is also the impending fear that agitation at Manesar will spill over to other Maruti plants which will further compound this problem.
A Special Investigation Team is looking into the case while the Haryana Police has stated that they are taking this case very seriously.
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