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They’re languishing in jail after being booked under ‘attempt tomurder’ charge
The untold story of the recent protests by garment workers against the now rolled back Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) rules is that over 200 workers arrested are still languishing in jail without bail.
Police sources said that 41 cases were registered for violence on the second day (April 19), all of which included attempt to murder, and 236 persons were arrested. Only cases registered for the second day’s violence included attempt to murder, while those registered on day one (April 18) have just rioting sections.
The workers are unable to get bail as they have not only been booked for rioting, but also for a more severe non-bailable offence of attempt to murder, which has now come under severe criticism from human rights activists and trade unions. The likelihood of the accused getting bail will be difficult given that the courts will go on a month-long vacation starting May 1, advocate B.T. Venkatesh pointed out.
A team, led by K.R. Jayaram of the Garments and Textile Workers’ Union, visited Parappana Agrahara Central Prison on Thursday and met over 30 workers, who were picked up from their factories and booked under attempt to murder charge. “We are at a loss to understand how protesting workers can be booked for a heinous offence such as attempt to murder. This only illustrates the vindictiveness of the city police. The only goal of the police seems to be to harass workers,” said Mr. Jayaram.
Megharikh defends action
City Police Commissioner N.S. Megharikh defended the police action and said that the violence and targeted attack on policemen justified booking those involved for attempt to murder.
“More than 86 people, including several policemen, were severely injured in stoning and other violence. Policemen at Hebbagodi police station and Jalahalli had to run for their lives. Booking them for attempt to murder is justified,” he said and added that naysayers had to fight it out in court.
The police are still in the process of rounding up ‘rioters’, who allegedly led the mob violence. “The police are visiting garment factories in Peenya and Bommanahalli area, picking up random workers, even on Thursday,” said Mr. Jayaram, adding that the workers were turning victims of vindictiveness of not just the police but also the managements. “In many places, the factory managements are willingly giving up workers who raise questions within the organisation. The collusion between the police and managements is only adding to the workers’ woes,” he said.
Mr. Megharikh, however, gave his assurance that all people arrested are unlikely to be tried under attempt to murder.
“The FIRs have a list of crimes, including rioting, causing damage to public property and assaulting public servants, apart from attempt to murder. Investigations will decide who should be chargesheeted for what offences,” he said.
From: The Hindu