YANAM: Enraged by the death of their union leader in a police lathicharge, workers of the Regency Ceramics factory here battered to death the company’s president (operations) T Chandrasekhar on Friday.
Yanam, a part of the union territory of Puducherry enclaved within Andhra Pradesh, was convulsed by the killings.
Police opened fire when incensed workers tried to storm a police station, severely injuring at least 11 of them. About 20 others were also hurt. Additional forces were rushed to the union territory from the AP police, and reports late evening indicated things were in control in the town.
According to eyewitnesses and police sources, trouble began when a group of about 600 workers led by the Regency Workers and the Staff Union president M Muralimohan Rao barged into the administrative office of the Regency Ceramics factory at 7.30 am. They wanted to discuss with the management long-pending issues such as a wage hike and reinstatement of five workers who had been recently suspended.
The administrative staff asked the workers to leave as they were not authorised to enter the office building without prior permission as per court orders.
As tempers flared, the office staff called up the Yanam police who turned up in strength and used force to disperse the workers. They took 100 of them into custody.
The union’s president Muralimohan Rao was badly injured in the lathicharge and died after being rushed to hospital.
Enraged by the death, workers went berserk and ransacked the company’s plant before setting it on fire.
A few of them broke into the residence of Regency Group president (operations) T Chandrasekhar in the vicinity and started attacking the residents. Some of the workers set upon Chandrasekhar with iron rods. Bleeding grievously from injuries to the head, he was rushed to a hospital in Kakinada. He succumbed to his injuries.
Meanwhile, workers went on a rampage in the streets of Yanam attacking buildings belonging to the Regency Group and setting fire to school buses belonging the Regency group of educational institutions.
Accusing the police of murdering their leader, the workers also attacked the Yanam police station. Police resorted to a lathicharge, and when the situation appeared to be slipping out of control, they opened fire, injuring 11 workers 20 others.
The injured are being treated at the Kakinada Government Hospital.Police have imposed prohibitory orders (Section 144) on the town. Following a request from the government of Puducherry, the Andhra Pradesh police rushed two battalions of forces to Yanam.