Maruti factory violence verdict: Court convicts 13 for murder, 18 for rioting
Thirty one workers were convicted and 117 acquitted in a case of violence and rioting at Maruti Suzuki plant at Manesar, 20 kms from Gurgaon city.
Thirteen accused have been held guilty of murder whereas 18 are convicted of rioting and other crimes under various sections of the IPC. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on March 17.
The police took 22 accused into custody after the verdict was announced in the court of additional district and sessions judge RP Goyal here on Friday amid heavy police presence. Administration had imposed section 144 in the district court premises and within 500 meters of Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar.
Awanish Kumar Dev, general manager (human resources) of Maruti Suzuki, was burned to death and several executives injured in the violence in the car plant allegedly triggered by workers on July 18, 2012. The police had arrested 148 workers in connection with the case, which is under trial at a district court.
Rajender Pathak, counsel of the accused workers, said that they would challenge the conviction in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Iqbal, one of the accused, was not present in the court whereas 147 others were present when the verdict was announced.
Pathak said that the contention of the prosecution that the murder was planned has been set aside. “We took the plea that this was an accident and acquittal of 117 persons has vindicated our stand”, said Pathak.
Eight workers are still in jail while others were released on bail in different hearings. The workers were accused of various charges including rioting with weapons, murder, attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, assault, and trespass. Violence was triggered after tussle between workers and the management over various demands.
Several workers’ unions have warned of protest if the court verdict was anti-workers. The unions have decided to hold a meeting in the evening at Kamla Nehru Park to further discuss their strategy.
“We will discuss the verdict with all workers and decide future course of action” said Khushi Ram, general secretary of Mazdoor Sahyog Kendra, Gurgaon. Khushi is one of the 546 permanent employees who were terminated after the incident.