15 October 2012

Alang shipbreakers go on indefinite strike over arrests:

Shipbreakers at the Alang-Sosiya Ship-Recycling Yard went on an indefinite strike on Friday demanding to drop the culpable homicide charge against three colleagues arrested in connection with the death of six workers during dismantling of a ship last week.

The Ship Recycling Industries Association (SRIA), which spearheaded the strike, said it was not unhappy with the arrests per se, but against the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section under which R K Jani, V K Jani and Rajesh Jugud were booked following their arrest on Thursday.

“This is the first time that the police have invoked Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against someone for an accident here. In earlier cases, Section 304 A (causing death by negligence) was invoked,” said SRIA vice-president Vinodbhai Patel.

“We believe this sudden change is a means to pressurise us. We are businessmen engaged in very risky work, so this precedent will hamper our business. We demand the withdrawal of such sections by the police,” Patel said.

The association said workers would be paid even during the strike. A delegation will meet Bhavnagar Chamber of Commerce & Industry office-bearers on Saturday, it added.

While R K Jani and V K Jani are owners of Bhavnagar-based Kiran Ship Breaking Co., Jugud is manager with the same company, which owns Plot no.82 where the fire broke out following an explosion onboard 163-metre long tankship MT Union Brave.

Source: Indian Express. 13 October 2012

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