The acquittal of 117 persons booked in the Maruti plant violence and murder in July 2012 resulted in celebrations at the court complex. Ecstatic workers thanked the Almighty and called their families in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and various districts of Haryana to share the news.
The acquitted workers said this verdict meant freedom from a life of uncertainty. “I have spent 960 days in jail without any involvement in the crime. My friends shunned me and no one gave me a job after I got out on bail. Today, I can say we are born again,” Vikas Verma of Yamuna Nagar in Haryana said. He, however, reiterated his support for his convicted colleagues, and said they will continue to fight for their acquittal.
Marriage of many workers had been put on hold because of their prolonged stay in jail, and the social stigma attached to a court case,. “We had become pariahs and outcastes for no fault of ours. No family was ready to consider us for marriage,” Karambir Singh from Ambala said.
Most of the 148 workers, who were arrested by the Gurgaon police, have spent up to three years and six months in jail before getting bail.
The workers said almost 50 hearings in the last three to four months had cost them a lot as daily travel and other expenses were involved.
“All of us are thankful to our families for so much support without which we could not have come out of this difficult situation,” Ravi Shanker, an acquitted worker, said.
However, Shravan Kumar the brother of one of the main accused Pradip Gujjar from Shamli, Uttar Pradesh, said the conviction came under pressure from the government and to protect corporate interests. “Those with money and power were able to browbeat the poor workers who were implicated wrongly in the case,” Kumar said.