Satbir, a 28 year old worker, was among four workers from Maruti’s Manesar plant produced by Haryana police at the district court in Gurgaon on Wednesday afternoon. Satbir has multiple fractures in his left leg and was taken to the civil hospital from the court room. “I fell while trying to flee the plant. I was in the morning Shift A; we had stayed back because we heard the union leaders were meeting the management to negotiate the reinstatement of a worker,” he recounts. “The violence began after 7 pm, I don’t know why it started. Gate 1 was closed. I feared that I may get attacked in the rioting and the confusion. I and two of my colleagues tried to jump off the back wall but I fell,” he says.
Satbir says he was taken to a private clinic by his colleagues and he came home to his village in Sirsa district after that, from where he was arrested on Saturday. “Other workers are injured too and are in hospitals and clinics,” he said.
The Haryana police had arrested 91 workers from villages near Manesar on 18-19 July. They were placed in judicial remand on Friday. More workers were arrested on Saturday. Naveen and Pradeep, two of the four workers produced before the court on Wednesday, were released in the afternoon. Both are in their early 20s. “Our children had left the plant before the violence started. The management has cleared their names from the list of offenders,” said Naveen’s uncle Uday Singh, a landowner from village Jahajgarh in Jhajjar district. Surendra Pal, 22, the fourth worker sat on a bench outside the court surrounded by policemen, tears welling up in his eyes.
Rajendra Pathak, the lawyer representing the MSIL workers, said the manner of arrests and releases exposes the arbitrariness of what is going on. “The two workers who were released are from Jhajjar-Rohtak area, where the Chief Minister’s constituency lies. The landed families will try use their political connections but the poorer workers can expect little justice. The police has arrested even those who were on the night shift and were not even at the plant. When I met the workers in jail yesterday they said they are being beaten up and are denied food and water,” he said.
The workers will be produced in the district court next on 1 August for the court to extend their judicial remand.