A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the violence by workers of a private factory in Yanam, an enclave of Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh, that led to the lynching of a top official of the unit after a union leader allegedly died in police action.

The frenzied workers of Regency Ceramics went on the rampage yesterday after their leader M.S. Murali Mohan was allegedly killed in police action outside the factory and attacked the residence of President (Operations), Mr K.C. Chandrasekhar, resulting in fatal head injuries.

Trouble had been brewing since January 2, with more than 800 contract workers staging daily protests demanding that the services of senior workers be regularised and wages revised.

Leading the protest, Mohan went to the factory and tried to obstruct workers from going for the morning shift on Friday when he was allegedly hit by police with batons, causing chest injuries. He collapsed and was rushed to hospital, where he died, police said.

Police opened fire after using canes to disperse the violent workers who torched the vehicles of educational institutions run by the factory, electronic goods and other properties following the death of Mohan, a dismissed worker.

Nine persons had suffered bullet injuries in the firing, the police said.

Official sources in Yanam said today that the Deputy Tahsildar, Mr Markendayan, had started the probe into the incidents of violence and also extensive damages to the properties of Regency Ceramics factory manufacturing tiles.

Sources said prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC have been clamped in the region.

Opposition Congress legislator, Mr Malladi Krishna Rao, representing Yanam seat in the territorial Assembly said forces from Andhra Pradesh had been deployed in Yanam to prevent escalation of violence.

Top police officials from here were camping in the violence and riot torn Yanam with a population of 42,000.

“Such a violent development had never been seen in Yanam at any time in the past,” Mr Rao said.

The workers were on strike demanding regularising temporary workers, revision of wages and reinstatement of all the suspended and dismissed workers.

Mr Rao said the management had obtained a court order restraining any gathering of people within 200 metres from the factory. The workers, who attempted to prevent others from attending duty yesterday, violated the police cordon and created violence, he said.

CPI Puducherry unit Secretary, Mr R. Viswanathan, said the administration should order a judicial probe into the lathi charge and police firing as the ‘police action was repressive and deserved to be condemned’.

AITUC (Puducherry unit) Deputy General Secretary, Mr I. Dinesh Ponniah, said the government should hold a probe by a High Court Judge. He said nine workers who suffered bullet injuries were in “critical” condition now.

(This article was published on January 28, 2012)
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