Netas 'protecting' errant Maruti staff

Netas 'protecting' errant Maruti staff

Netas 'protecting' errant Maruti staff

Amid mounting pressure to act against the culprits in last week’s violence at the Maruti Suzuki car manufacturing plant here, the police are in a Catch-22 situation as most of the workers belong to politically-powerful districts of Haryana and acting against them would draw the ire of the netas.

Six days after the violence, which claimed the life of a senior executive of the company, the police could arrest only 110 of the over 600 workers involved in the mayhem. a single union leader has been arrested and the rest are at large.

Soon after the violence broke out, nearly all the workers fled from their rented accommodations from nearby villages to their native districts. “They knew nobody would touch them in their own villages, including the police”, said an executive from the company, who did not want to be named. 

Admitting tardy progress in making the arrests, a senior Haryana police officer told Deccan Herald on Tuesday: “As most of the culprits belong to areas from where the state’s powerful politicians hail, we are cautious in initiating action”. He woul not admit if the political establish ment was obstructing any probe, but quipped, “We are working under duress”.

Unlike Maruti’s Gurgaon factory where most of the employees belong to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, a predominant number of those working in the Manesar establishment belong to Haryana.  

Indeed, most of the employees among the 4,000-strong labour force in one of the biggest automobile factories in India belong to Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonepat and Jind districts of Haryana, from where hail several political bigwigs in the present ruling dispensation of the state, including Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Risk factor

It is clear that people of the region stand firmly behind Hooda, who is in his second term as chief minister, so much that he was criticised by his rivals for pumping money into the districts for development.

With most of the workers suspected of being responsible for the violence hailing from these areas, the chief minister would not risk annoying his voters by allowing the police to hunt down the offenders.

However, Hooda, who met Maruti Suzuki officials here promised to set up a fast-track court to try the culprits. He also promised to take strong action against the offenders.

“Everybody including the police knows about the real culprits. But no one is ready to act against them, and the reason is known to all”, says Ramesh Yadav of  Karkedi village, who is actively participating along with other village heads demanding the arrest of the real culprits.

Demand for CBI probe

Even the mahapanchayat comprising over 100 villages surrounding the factory demanded a CBI probe, asserting that they had no faith in the Special Investigative Team constituted by the Haryana government to probe the incident.

 “Most of the arrested are suspected to be innocents while real culprits are at large,” says Rao Abhay Yadav, former Gurgaon Zilla Panchayat president, who chaired the mahapanchayat.

Speaking with Deccan Herald, Shiv Bhatia, media advisor to Chief Minister Hooda, refuted the allegations maintaining they were “baseless”. He said the chief minister had passed strict instructions to the investigating agency to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice expeditiously.

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