A group of CITU workers poured waste fish water on a women manager of Muthoot finance company on Wednesday. The incident happened at the Kattappana branch office in Idukki in Kerala. The branch had been functioning despite a strike call by several unions.
When the branch manager, 44-year-old Anitha Gopal reached the office on Wednesday, a group of CITU workers were waiting outside the office. She told TNM that as she entered the office premises, one of the men rushed towards her and poured waste fish water on her head.
Anitha said, "When I reached the office, there were 10 to 12 CITU workers at the spot. Suddenly a worker poured a basin of waste fish water on my head. It was an unexpected move, I was shocked. Then another man came forward and poured another basin of fish water on my body."
Anitha added that the striking CITU workers had sealed the lock of the branch with a sealant. "We broke the lock with a axesaw blade. Then the police reached the spot and I continued to be at the office for over three hours wearing the same clothes that were stinking," Anitha said.
Based on Anitha's complaint, Kattappana police registered a case against 10 CPI(M) and CITU workers. The employees of the Muthoot bank alleged that ever since the strike began weeks ago, CITU workers have tried to prevent them from going to work. Due to the ongoing protests, police had camped at the spot. But with no ontowaed incidents happening, the security had been withdrawn two days ago. The strike has been ongoing for many weeks with unions alleging that Muthoot was not paying it's employees well.
"Several times the CITU workers had sealed the lock, forcing us to break the lock and enter our office. I have been working here for twenty years, and have never joined any strike as I am happy with the compensation I recieve," Anitha said.
However, a CITU leader who was part of the incident raised a counter allegation and claimed that Anitha had poured fish water on the protesters.
CPI(M) Kattappana local committee secretary and CITU area committee member MT Hari told TNM, “When we reached the office, the manager poured the fish water on my head," he claimed.
Hari says they had asked the women not to work till the strike ends. "We requested her to stop working, she didn't. I have submitted a complaint against her before Kattappana police station", he added.
Anitha counters that the job was her lifeline and she did not wish to join the strike.