New Delhi: A Gurugram court on Friday convicted 31 workers in connection with violence that broke out at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s plant in Manesar, Haryana, in 2012.
The 31 were among 148 workers accused of rioting, conspiracy to commit murder and arson at the plant in Manesar, located in the district of Gurugram, formerly known as Gurgaon. The sentencing order is expected on 17 March.
Thirteen of the convicts were found guilty under Section 302 (punishment for murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, said Ramniwas Kush, a representative of the provisional working committee of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union.
The remaining 18 have been convicted under various sections including Sections 307, 148 (rioting with a deadly weapon) and 149 (unlawful assembly), he added.
Lawyer Rebecca John, who represented the workers, confirmed that 117 of the 148 accused had been acquitted of all charges.
She said that with three-fourths of the accused acquitted, the ruling means that the “substratum of the case had fallen through".
“It shows that Maruti factory and the Gurgaon police were involved in large-scale manipulation and fabrication of evidence," she added.
An email sent to Maruti remained unanswered at the time of going to the press. Lawyers for Maruti did not respond to calls.
On 18 July 2012, a senior human resource executive was burnt to death and about 100 more employees, both Indian and Japanese, were attacked and injured by workers who went on the rampage at Maruti’s Manesar plant.
The incident was followed by a month-long lockout. Prior to the violence, the workers had gone on strike demanding a wage hike and other benefits.
Kush of the workers union said the workers would challenge the ruling before the Punjab and Haryana high court.
“Bilkul, aur koi raasta nahi hai," (Certainly, there’s no other alternative), he said.