CUDDALORE: As the strike by NLC employees entered its 30th day on Monday, workers indulged in violence and attacked executives of the company. Also, stones were pelted at vehicles and the houses of a few officials in the township. The employees had announced an indefinite protest demanding wage hike, and 97 workers are on a hunger strike. Around 22 fasting workers have fallen ill so far and taken to hospital. Following this, they have withdrawn the protest and decided to hold relay hunger strike at different places in Neyveli.
Till Sunday, the protest was uneventful. But on Monday morning, the workers gathered at the entrances of mines and thermal plants at 6 am to prevent officials and contract workers from reporting for work, police said. Around 10 persons were injured when workers attacked a group of engineers coming out after finishing duty. They were taken to the NLC general hospital for treatment.
The protesting workers also pelted stones at the engineers’ houses in blocks 6, 7 and 25 of Neyveli Township. Wind shields of nearly 25 cars were broken in the incident. Two government buses, two NLC buses and one private bus were damaged in the violence, police added.
Based on a complaint by the general secretary of NLC Engineers Association, township police registered a case and arrested 5 workers. Also, based on a separate complaint, one more worker was arrested for attacking an officer working in Thermal Power Station-I.
IG of Police Manjunatha, DIG Sumit Saran, Cuddalore SP Vijaya Kumar are camping in Neyveli to monitor the situation. Around 700 police personnel are deployed in the township to prevent any untoward incidents.
Meanwhile, engineers’ association office bearers petitioned the DIG seeking protection.
Earlier, on Sunday night, leaders of some unions accused media of not covering the protest extensively.
While addressing the fasting workers, some of the union leaders asked media persons to leave the venue. Even as reporters started to move away, they were surrounded by slogan-shouting workers who even tried to assault them. However, the reporters managed to get out safely.
“The media should not have telecast the interview of NLC chairman and this is the reason behind the workers’ anger,” said some of the workers.