The protesters pelted stones at factory security guards and the police. Lathi charge and tear gas was used to disperse the crowd.

Protests by Karnataka garment workers against no salary police lathicharge
news Human Rights Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 18:00

A massive protest broke out in Karnataka’s Hassan district on Wednesday as workers of a private garment factory accused the factory supervisors of assaulting them repeatedly. Over 200 workers of the Himmath Singh Garment Factory located in the Special Economic Zone in Hassan sat down to protest the alleged physical and mental abuse they said they were facing at the hands of the factory’s management.

According to Hassan SP AN Prakash Gowda, over 5,000 people work at the Himmat Singh Garment Factory and over 200 of them had taken permission to stage a protest outside the factory’s premises on Wednesday morning. The protesters, who were shouting slogans against the management on Wednesday morning, grew restless by the afternoon when it seemed evident that the management was not willing to address their issues.

According to the Hassan Police, the garment workers have alleged that the supervisors in the factory constantly physically assaulted the workers over minor issues and that the workers were not paid their wages for the last one month.

“Some of the protesters had injuries on their bodies, which they said were caused due to the beatings they received from the supervisors. There were a few women, who claimed that they were sexually harassed by the supervisors. They claimed that they were not being paid wages and that despite several complaints to the management, they were ignored,” the police added.

On Wednesday, angry protesters began to pelt stones at the 15 security guards deployed outside the factory gate. The police, who intervened, resorted to lathicharge to disperse protesters. Although it seemed like the protesters were dispersing initially, within minutes, they began pelting stones at the police officials as well and at the police van parked near the gate.

“The protesters began to throw stones at the police officers. The police van was damaged severely and the protestors overturned it. Seven police officers were injured. Two of them were injured grievously as they suffered head injuries due to the stone-pelting. They have all undergone treatment at the district government hospital,” SP AN Prakash Gowda added.

Soon, the police fired gunshots in the air and used tear gas to disperse the crowds. As many as 25 protesters were detained. 

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