Karachi factory workers absent after death of colleague
KARACHI: Since most co-workers of the slain worker of a garment factory have remained absent since the incident on April 8, the investigation police remain clueless and are desperately seeking eyewitnesses to solve the case. Jagdesh, the deceased, worked in the stitching department, along with 11 to 13 others, and was killed for alleged blasphemy. He was a Hindu by faith.
“We have visited the factory several times and asked the management to name those involved in the dispute that led to Jagdesh’s death. We also talked about eyewitnesses, but the scare has kept them well away from their work at the factory,” said Landhi SP Farrukh Bashir. The factory management does not have any contact information, including home addresses and phone numbers, for these workers, or the people who recommended them.
FIR No 260/08 was registered on behalf of the deceased’s brother-in-law, Om Prakash, the same day, against unidentified men.
An investigation officer, Raja Ulfat, said that the police were compelled to call the management to the police station and warned them to produce these men as soon as possible. The management has assured the police that they should be found by Sunday evening or Monday (today). According to initial investigations, the police identified two workers, Waqas and Usman, who, if found, may lead to the solving of the case. Some workers claimed that Jagdesh was killed in front of the police, who did not try to save him.
Muhammad Ashfaq, the first policeman to reach the scene, accepted this claim. “He was alive when we arrived after receiving information from the security management. However, there was a mob of nearly 1,500 beating a single man. There were only five of us on the police mobile unit, and five security guards. What could we do” he asked. Despite that, the policemen did their best to disperse the crowd and only managed to save the body from being burnt, when more police contingents arrived. The Lyari Town minorities, some 40 Hindu workers who live in Marwari Mohalla and were neighbors of the deceased, have been deprived of their jobs as the garment factory management has restricted their entry to the factory premises. Labor Union President Saleem and a factory administration officer, Nadeem Sarwar, have denied this.
Sarwar said that out of 2,800 workers, only 20 to 25 are Hindu and they are so scared by the incident that they themselves have refused to return. The resulting shortage of workers is causing losses to the factory, so why restrict entry to these workers, he asked. Initial inquiry officer Muhammad Ashfaq added that five days have passed since the police last heard from the family of the deceased, who have taken the body to Mirpurkhas for the final rites.