The situation at Manesar was tense on Wednesday in anticipation of another round of protests by the Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union members starting Thursday, with cops conducting a flag march amid possibilities of a clash between protesters and villagers.
“The police have ensured a fool-proof and adequate arrangement to deal with any untoward incident; we are ready for any eventuality and peace will be maintained at all costs,” said commissioner of police Alok Mittal, who led the flag march himself. According to reports, nearly 35 platoons or around 1,000 cops, including women personnel, swamped IMT Manesar on Wednesday.
Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union, that gave the call for a peaceful hunger strike to protest the continued imprisonment of over 100 workers in the wake of the violent disruptions caused at Maruti's Manesar plant last year, maintained throughout the day that it would hold its protest at Tau Devi Lal Park in IMT Manesar.
Later in the evening, though, it scaled down its stance. “We have decided to gather tomorrow morning at the Leisure Valley Park in Sector 29 as we do not want any face-off with the authorities. From there we will march towards Manesar,” said Yogesh, the union's provisional committee member.
The sarpanches of neighbouring villages, however, maintained a hostile stance towards the protest call.
“We have decided at a panchayat of 18 villages held on Sunday that we will not let the union activists converge in Manesar. If Maruti pulls out of Manesar, then we will be at a huge loss as the local economy is dependent on Maruti and the other plants at IMT. We have braced ourselves for a fight,” said Prahlad Singh, the sarpanch of Vaas Hariya.
Meanwhile, trade unions like Citu tried to remain aloof, maintaining that the protest call was a matter of the Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union and not their institutional matter.
“They have not involved us in the struggle, but have only asked for our support. Though we support them in principle, we will not participate in their struggle. We have decided to submit a memorandum to the Governor to register our protest against the injustice done to the workers,” said Citu state general secretary Satvir Singh.
IMT Industries Association general secretary Manoj Tyagi told HT that other industrial plants and institutions at IMT would go about their business as usual.