Around 100 people were arrested Thursday, in connection with the violence that erupted between the management and the workers of the Maruti Suzuki India factory at Manesar, Haryana, India.
One person was killed and over 85 persons, including two Japanese nationals, were injured in the scuffle that turned violent on Wednesday. The person, who was charred to death in the fire started during the clash, has been identified as Avnish Kumar Dev, General Manager, HR, at the Manesar plant.
The violence has forced India's largest car maker to shut down the Manesar plant, which accounts for one-third of Maruti's car production capacity in the country. More than a 1,000 policemen are now guarding the plant and a case has been registered against more than 60 workers for murder, attempted murder and causing grievous injuries and damage to properties and other charges.
The trouble reportedly began after a supervisor allegedly got into an altercation with a junior worker and made some casteist remarks. The worker allegedly slapped the supervisor and the management later suspended the worker. Other workers protested against his arrest.
The local media reports say that the workers barged into a conference room where the senior officers were having a meeting and physically assaulted them. A faction of the workers, meanwhile, set fire at five places, including the assembly line and the control room.
Both the management and the workers have blamed each other for the violence. In a statement, the management accused the workers of starting the fire that led to the death of one person and said the workers had injured at least 40 officials. While the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union's (MSWU) statement says that the management has resorted to anti-worker and anti-Union activities.
The company said in a statement that it has no idea when production will resume. There is no damage to the production line. Damage only to administrative offices, the statement said.
They alleged that a supervisor in the shop floor abused and made casteist comments against a Dalit worker, which was legitimately protested by the worker. Instead of taking action against the said supervisor, the management immediately suspended the worker concerned without any investigation.
The Manesar plant, which mainly manufactures Maruti's Swift, has witnessed much unrest between the management and the workers' union in the past two years. The production had stopped at least three times last year due to the workers' strike, causing a loss of 83,000 units, reported NDTV.