Workers kill company official in Yanam

A senior official of a ceramics company was Friday killed in an attack by workers after their leader died in police custody as large-scale violence rocked Yanam, a region of Puducherry but located in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district.

Yanam, known as a peaceful region, turned into a battle field as workers of Regency Ceramics attacked the house of the company's vice president (Operations) K.C. Chandrasekhar.

He sustained injuries in the attack and succumbed while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Kakinada town of East Godavari district.

Eight workers were injured when police opened fire to disperse them outside the police station.

Police said the workers set fire to the factory, besides dozens of buses, and caused large-scale destruction of property on the factory premises.

The Yanam administration sought additional police forces from the Andhra Pradesh government. The reinforcements were rushed from different parts of East Godavari.
Police imposed prohibitory orders in the region and deployed additional forces near the factory to check looting of the factory property.

The violence broke out Friday morning when a leader of the striking workers died in police custody. The workers alleged that he died due to police torture.

Murali Mohan was arrested Thursday. As the news of his death spread, hundreds of workers gathered outside the police station, demanding that the guilty policemen and the factory management be booked for murder.

Angry workers laid siege to the police station, pelted stones at and clashed with the police. As a baton charge failed to disperse the workers, the police opened fire, injuring eight workers. The condition of two of them is stated to be critical.

Another group of workers began a protest outside the factory. Police arrested about 100 protesters, which triggered violent reaction from other workers.

Over 700 workers of the factory were on strike for the last 15 days demanding hike in salaries.

The management had reportedly decided to retrench some workers and had even obtained orders from the Madras High Court that the striking workers should not come within 200 metres of the industrial unit.

Yanam, a former French colony, is under the administrative control of Puducherry but geographically a part of East Godavari district in coastal Andhra. The people in the enclave speak Telugu.

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