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West Bengal Jute Mill CEO murder: Why workers' unions getting violent?
It was really a horrific case of mob violence when a jute mill CEO in West Bengal's Hooghli district was mercilessly beaten to death on June 15, Sunday, when he was in a meeting with some agitated members of the workers' union of the company. As per the various reports CEO of Northbrook Jute Mill SK Maheshwari was having a meeting with the workers to come out with a plan to bring down the production level in the wake of mounting losses.

However, in the middle of the meeting workers got agitated on the alleged plans of reduction of working days from five to three and attacked Maheshwari, who later on the way to hospital died. Trinamool Congress ruled state government has alleged that the accused members of the union who killed Maheswari were belonging to CPM and BJP.

This is not just one case when unruly members of workers' union got violent resulting into the death of management's member. Some similar incident happened in northern Indian state of Haryana in July 2012, when agitated union members at Maruti Suzuki plant at industrial town Manesar in Gurgaon district got violent. In that violence at Maruti Suzuki's plant, the company's General Manager (Human Resource) was burnt alive.

Similarly , in January 2001, manager of a factory in Baranagar in West Bengal was charred to death in the tussle between management and the workers.

The union of workers is formed with an aim that it would work as a link between management of the company and workers. The union and management are supposed to reach to a solution of any problem peacefully. Then what is that thing which is forcing the union members to get violent? Are the company managements failing listen to the problems of the workers? Are the unions raising demands going out of way?

Worker unions are also having political affiliations like CITU is affiliated to CPM, AITUC to CPI, INTTUC to TMS, BMS to BJP and INTUC to the Congress. Is this political affiliation has something to do with the day by day increasing differences between unions and the managements?

C.H. Venktachalam, General Secretry, All India Banks Employees Association (AIBEA) says that governments and political parties are politically involved with labour unions to get votes, so there are chances of politically motivated reactions. Trade Unions should be above parties. Governments need to see that workers are not divided on the party line. It is not fair enough.

As per the various reports CEO of Northbrook Jute Mill SK Maheshwari was having a meeting with the workers to come out with a plan to bring down the production level in the wake of mounting losses.

He added, "Jute industry depends upon state and central government, as government can only encourage the consumption of Jute material but no one is doing so. Jute industry is very good and pioneering industry. The state govt can modernise it, however, it is not putting that much effort into it. One should be careful enough while taking any decision regarding reducing or raising the working hours. Because of the unconcerned behavior of Jute Mill management such tragic incident happened in Hoogly district."

Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy, while reacting on the tragic Jute Mill incident said that allegations are against the workers belong to CPM and BJP union. But he said that the allegations are still to be confirmed.

“It is a case of violence. Workers get violent when industry ignores their demands. Sometimes brutal things happen, but I believe this situation wasn't that much provocative that such thing could happen. The tragedy could had been stopped. The government should form a better investigating panel to examine the whole situation.”

Commenting on the Hooghli Jute Mill incident West Bengal BJP Chief Rahul Sinha refuted the charges of the CM Mamata Banerjee that union members affiliated to BJP were involved in the violence.

“The involvement of any party member is yet to be confirmed. As I know, those workers were not getting their labor money from past few months and it resulted into this. And the situation with time is deteriorating. Such things shouldn't happened. Management's ignorance to the basic need of workers lead to such situation. The culprits need to be identified and punished as soon as possible. I believe, Chief Minister is responsible for such brutal acts which are existing in industrial sector. Its been 3 years that revival of Jute industries is still pending and proposals exists in files only. Before coming into governance TMC had promised to lead this industry to a higher growth level but all in vain. Its doesn't matter that culprit hails from some anonymous party, but what matter is that presently Bengal is facing bad time. One should investigate why such situation has come.”

Spokesperson for CPM Mohammed Saleem too refuted the allegations of Mamata Banerjee as totally baseless. Workers killed people who belongs to management because of some reasons.

“Have you ever witnessed the same situation which is existing now a days in Weste Bengal, in other parts of the nation? So this is a new kind of development. Mamata Benerjee always resort to blame game. So it is not acceptable to buy this theory. Such incidents nail the theory of lawlessness in Bengal. Secondly, if the trade unions are provided with democratic rights, this sort of situation might not come. Its been three years that TMC government and police are not allowing democratic rights to the institutions to function properly. They are not following democratic norms and even not ready to give democratic rights to the people. So such things are bound to happen in present time. And now people have taken law in their own hand. The state government and police are not ready to stand by the people for the people and of the people. And this is the result of the same,” said Mohammed Salim.

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