A sessions court here on Friday convicted 31 former workers of Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant near Gurugram for the 2012 factory violence but acquitted 117 others for lack of evidence.
Additional District and Sessions Judge R.P. Goel said the order on the quantum of punishment to the convicts will be pronounced on March 17.
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“We will decide our next course of action following the court verdict. We have been fighting for the welfare of workers and will continue to do so,” workers union leader Kuldeep Janghu said.
Earlier, the court divided the convicts in two categories, as per the charges proved against them. While one group has 24 convicts, the remaining seven are in the other.
Booked by the police and sacked by the carmaker after the violence on July 18, 2012, none of the 148 jailed workers could for long secure bail.
It was only on February 23, 2015, that the Supreme Court granted bail to two of the 148 accused.
The violence had left Maruti Suzuki Human Resource Department General Manager Ashwin Kumar Dev dead and over 50 persons injured. Several policemen were also injured in the fracas.
The violence was triggered on the carmaker’s premises after a supervisor allegedly abused and slapped a worker. Services of nearly 2,500 workers, including 546 permanent employees, were terminated after the incident.
Maruti declared a lockout in the factory for over a month, suffering a loss of several crores of rupees in the process.
Reacting to Friday’s court verdict, workers of various factory/industrial units based in Gurugram and nearby Dharuhera area of Haryana held a meeting in the evening at Gurugram’s Kamla Nehru Park to chalk out their future strategy.
Workers unions’ leaders and others who participated in the meeting included those working in Maruti Suzuki’s plants in Gurugram, Manesar as well as other plants in Kherki Daula.
The case dates back to July 18, 2012, when senior manager Awanish Kumar Dev died and several others were injured in a fire that broke out at the plant during a clash between workers and the management. The workers were arrested and charged with murder, rioting and unlawful assembly.
The riots began after a heated debate over disciplinary issue with an employee went out of control. The disagreements between the workers and the management soon turned bloody.
Initially around 145 workers were charged with rioting with weapons, murder, attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, assault, and trespass, among others.
Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union members on Thursday boycotted food at factory canteen in solidarity with the accused, reported Hindustan Times.
“The workers across the industrial belt are united and in one voice want the government to drop charges against those who have been framed wrongly,” general secretary Kuldeep Janghu told the daily.