ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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West Bengal : Labour as Politics

In the current ambience of violence that has enveloped Kolkata and its environs, the killing of the manager of a jute mill, his colleague and a worker would not seem to call for much attention, especially against the background of the dismal state of the jute industry in recent times. There was almost an air of inevitability about the events. Yet it may well prove to be the proverbial last straw and push all parties concerned towards addressing the shocking state of disrepair of the industry.

In the current ambience of violence that has enveloped Kolkata and its environs, the killing of the manager of a jute mill, his colleague and a worker would not seem to call for much attention, especially against the background of the dismal state of the jute industry in recent times. There was almost an air of inevitability about the events. Yet it may well prove to be the proverbial last straw and push all parties concerned towards addressing the shocking state of disrepair of the industry.

Workers of the Baranagore Jute Mills in 24-Parganas district, which had been opened after a prolonged shut down on December 23, were protesting the sacking of two casual workers. The workers reportedly forced their way into the mill's offices, damaging everything on their way and cutting telephone connections. That was when the chief executive officer pulled out his gun and fired killing a worker. The enraged workers then beat up the CEO, the personnel manager and the shift-in-charge, tied up the first two to chairs outside and set fire to the office and to cars outside. The personnel manager is reported to have told his wife on his cell phone to call the police, but the police say the call was never received. By the time the police entered the mill offices, having been delayed because the workers had locked the gates from inside, the two officers were dead and the fatally injured worker had been taken to the hospital.

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