Clash at IIT Mandi: Political fronts, NGOs, labour unions come together for massive protest

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mandi
  • Updated: Jun 22, 2015 22:43 IST

Various political fronts, NGOs, labour unions and volunteer organisations held a mass protest against the state government and district administration on Monday.

Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) state secretary Kashmir Singh presided over the protest which was addressed by CITU district president Bhupender Singh, Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS) leaders Ashok Parashar and Mitra Dev, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) president YP Kapoor, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) leader Prakash Pant, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Desh Raj Sharma, CPI (Marxist) leader Kushal Bhardwaj, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Rakesh Madhotra and Lawan Thakur, Kisan Sabha leader Hardev Thakur, Naujawan Sabha leader Mahender Rana, Janwadi Mahila Samiti president Jaivanti and prominent social activist Deshraj Sharma.

The leaders criticised the civil contractor, police and district administration for their failure in dealing with the labourers' grievances that led to a bloody clash between residents of Kamand area and security guards of a private construction company.

The clash at Indian Institute of Technology, Kamand, had left four security guards dead and nine others injured on June 20. Five of the injured were also security guards, while the remaining were villagers.

The leaders alleged that the construction company did not deposit the labourers' general provident fund (GPF) since January 2014, due to which the labourers after informing the police, district administration, central public works department (CPWD) and construction company were holding protest since June 13.

They said nine security guards from Punjab were staying in a guest house adjoining the Nandali police post in Kamand area since January 16, but the police never monitored their activities or noticed the weapons that they used to carry to pressure labourers to withdraw their strike.

The leaders demanded immediate arrest of the civil contractor who hired the security guards from Punjab, free treatment of injured labourers, security to the labourers who had been referred to Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, inquiry to unearth the GPF scam, facilities and security to the workers, especially women labourers, at the site of construction of IIT Kamand north campus at Salagi village and cancellation of FIR lodged against villagers.

Security guard files cross complaint

Two days after the clash, Gurvinder Singh, a resident of Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab, and employee of civil contractor Rajiv Sharma, has alleged that he, along with his colleagues Gagandeep, Baljinder, Satvir Singh, Lovely, Hari, Teja, Simranjeet Singh and Jitender, was working at the site in Salagi village where local labourers attacked them and torched some vehicles. Taking note of his complaint, the police have registered a case of murder, hurt, rioting, criminal trespass, mischief and arson under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Padhar police station.

'Admn was already working to resolve labourer's issues'

Mandi deputy commissioner Sandeep Kadam, in a press release on Monday said the administration was already holding discussions with IIT Kamand authorities to resolve the labourers' grievances and demands amicably, but unfortunately an untoward incident occurred in the meantime. Kadam denied any delay in addressing the labourer union's allegations and suggestions. He said the police were investigating the matter to bring the accused to book.

'Law and order deteriorating in state'

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mandi district president Jawahar Thakur on Monday said the law and order in the state was deteriorating day by day. While addressing the mediapersons here at Mandi, Thakur said law minister Kaul Singh Thakur represented Drang constituency, yet he had failed in maintaining law and order in the region. He demanded a high-level inquiry into the June 20 clash, delay in disbursement of labourers' GPF and arrest of those who hired the armed security guards.

CPM forms six-member panel to probe incident

Shimla: Blaming the government for the violence at IIT Mandi, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPIM) has constituted a six-member panel to probe the incident.

Top party leaders met here on Monday and constituted a panel that will visit IIT Kamand campus on June 24 to bring the facts to light.

CPM state secretariat member and Shimla deputy mayor Tikender Panwar, who is also member of the panel, said the panel comprised Shimla mayor Sanjay Chauhan, Kuldeep Singh Tanwar, Prem Gautam, Bhupender and Sanjeev Bhushan.

Meanwhile, the state unit of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) on Monday submitted a memorandum to chief minister Virbhadra Singh at the state secretariat seeking action against the IIT management, police and contractors for escalating violence to disrupt the peaceful protest.

State CITU secretary Vijender Mehra said the clash at IIT Kamand was very unfortunate and exposed nexus of administration, police and contractors.

Demanding strict action against those involved, he said, "An FIR should be lodged against director of IIT, Mandi, in-charge of police chowki Kamand (Mandi) and the civil contractor. Moreover, the police chowki in-charge should be sacked immediately."

Mehra alleged that the police chowki in-charge had been working in connivance with the contractor and therefore did not act in time to avoid the unfortunate incident. He also demanded withdrawal of FIR against the protesting workers.

"Around 600 workers were demanding implementation of labour laws and statutory provisions and medical facility for long. But the contractor and IIT administration did not pay any attention to them," the memorandum read.

Before submitting the memorandum, CITU staged a protest outside the deputy commissioner's (DC) office in Shimla and raised slogans against the government, police and IIT administration.

IIT Mandi clash: Victim's father seeks CBI probe

FATEHGARH SAHIB: A local resident, whose son was killed in the firing at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kamandh, in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district on June 20, has demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the incident.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Taranjit Singh claimed that the Himachal police did not provide proper medical care to his son Tanwinder Singh Harry immediately after the firing, which led to the latter's death.

Taranjit said his son was on a visit to tourist places in the hill state and was carrying cash along with valuables such as a gold chain, an expensive mobile phone and a wrist watch. Refuting the police claim, he wondered why his son would work as a bouncer for just `500 per day when he was the heir to 25-acre land worth `35 crore and was earning `2 lakh per month as the rent of various commercial and residential buildings.

Taranjit claimed that the Himachal police made no arrangements for bringing Harry's body back to Fatehgarh Sahib for performing the last rites. He further alleged that the HP police were hand in glove with the assailants who had targeted his son with the aim of looting the cash and valuables. He urged the Punjab government to press the HP government for a CBI probe to bring out the truth.

When contacted, Mandi superintendent of police (SP) Mohit Chawla denied the allegations and said the police provided first aid to the injured immediately after the incident. He added that the post-mortem report was awaited.

Meanwhile, the condition of Baljeet alias Lovely of Manpur, Fatehgarh Sahib, who was admitted to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, after being injured in the clash, is said to be serious. Taranjit said Lovely's relatives had informed him that cash and jewellery were also missing from his (Lovely's) belongings.

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