Workers at the Manesar Maruti Suzuki plant had been planning to attack the supervisor and indulge in violence for about a week, claimed a labour contractor who was present at the spot.
They had been piling up iron rods and wooden logs and were waiting for the right moment, he said, adding that the alleged caste slur was only a trigger.
The Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) management also termed Wednesday night's incident an orchestrated act of mob violence at a time when operations had been normal for the past several months. The company denied any of the supervisors made caste-related remarks.
Labour contractor Rakesh Choudhary, who was present at the spot when the violence erupted on Wednesday said: "Wednesday's violence was planned. The workers were planning it for a week. It started at 8.30 am when supervisor Ram Kishore Majhi went to the production unit and (worker) Jiya Lal misbehaved with him when the former asked him to behave properly".
Choudhary said it was a trivial issue and the supervisor did not use any abusive language. "But he rushed to the union office-bearers and provoked them against the supervisor., saying he had used abusive language and insulted him."
The labour contractor said when he tried to intervene, the workers warned him to stay away. "We all felt helpless… No one got time to escape. The workers were all between the age of 18 and 25 years. Young blood is easy to instigate."
The chief operating officer (administration) of MSIL, SY Siddiqui, said it was a well-planned criminal move by some anti-social elements who instigated the workers and used caste slur as a pretext.
"None of the supervisors had ever said anything on caste. Wednesday's move was not just unwarranted but well-planned too. By any account, this is not an 'industrial relation' problem over issues of wages or working conditions. Rather, it is an orchestrated act of mob violence at a time when operations had been normal over the past many months," Siddiqui said.