Sacked mob kills firm's chief in India - Asia, World - The Independent
The head of an Italian manufacturing firm located in India was apparently beaten to death by an angry mob made up of dozens of sacked workers who attacked him with iron bars.
Lalit Kishore Choudhary, the 47-year-old head of Graziano Trasmissioni India, bled to death after being set upon as he tried to negotiate with angry former employees who went on the rampage at the company's plant in one of Delhi's satellite towns. A group of cowering Italian staff visiting the plant from the firm's headquarters in Turin, from the company Oerlikon Graziano, locked themselves inside their rooms as the workers ransacked the building.
Indian business groups condemned the violence and said it would deter foreign companies from investing in the country, and particularly in the notoriously lawless state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), in which the factory was located. "[This was] a tragic, unwanted and gory act of violence," said the Confederation of Indian Industry. "Such instances of industrial violence cannot be a solution to any problem."
An official at the Italian embassy said that tensions at the plant in the town of Noida had been steadily growing and that this summer diplomats had asked the UP government to increase security at the plant. The official was unclear whether this request had been met. "It's very sad. This company has been there for more than 10 years," he said. "We have not had problems at any of our other Italian companies in India."
The precise details of the dispute between workers and the automotive parts manufacturer are unclear. One official said that 240 casual employees had been dismissed early this year for what he said was "poor performance"; 70 of them were taken back but the remainder had been protesting outside the factory gates since then.
On Monday, the workers were apparently invited to discuss a possible settlement to the dispute in which more of the workers would be taken back. Police said that Mr Choudhary, the chief executive of the Indian arm of the company, was attacked after he tried to talk to the disgruntled workers. He was married with a teenage son.
The company's assistant manager, Rakesh Kumar Singh, told the Mail Today newspaper that the angry workers were armed with iron rods and hockey sticks. "They first attacked our security guards and then the workers," he said. "Even though our senior management was willing to take them back they resorted to this kind of bloodbath."
Other workers said that workers had been angered by a demand that dismissed employees sign a letter admitting to guilt for previous violent acts before being reemployed. "This made me furious and the gathered workers started protesting," said one worker who insisted he was not involved in Mr Choudhary's death.
Supt Babu Ram, a police official, said 63 people had been charged over Mr Choudhary's death and that 73 had been charged with disturbing the peace.
Company officials criticised the police for failing to respond to a request to be present at the plant when the workers arrived.
Ramesh Jain, a board member, said the police had been asked to come at 9.30am. However, he said, they did not arrive until after noon. He added: "Had they reached in time, the workers would not have entered the factory and the CEO's life would have been saved."