Six factory workers in India have been arrested and charged with attacking and killing their boss with stones and iron rods in a dispute over increasing their work hours and pay.
HK Maheswari, 60, was in his office at the North Brook Jute Mill in West Bengal when 200 workers stormed in carrying the weapons. Just hours before, the employer had denied their request to increase their working hours and pay from 25 hours per week to 40, reports Al Jazeera. The disgruntled men were also reportedly angry because Maheswari had announced plans to shut down the factory for three days a week in an effort to cut costs.
At the time of the attack, the CEO was holding a meeting with union members over the proposal to cut days at the mill, reports Indian Express. Sources say a rumor spread among workers that the decision to reduce working days had been finalized, which sent them into a rage.
“The mill workers suddenly resorted to stone pelting while we were busy in a meeting,” said Kiranjit Singh, the factory’s general manager. Singh confirmed that the CEO collapsed after he was struck in the head by two stones that had been thrown into the office window from outside. He collapsed on the floor – which was when workers broke into his office and reportedly beat him with iron rods.
Maheswari died on the way to the hospital, according to Fox News. Singh and a security guard were also hospitalized and treated for injuries.
Four suspects were arrested on Sunday, and police apprehended two more suspects on Monday. They are expected to be charged with murder, vandalism and other crimes.
Maheswari is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.