Diamond worker shot in Gujarat, security guard booked (Lead)

July 6th, 2008 - 6:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhavnagar (Gujarat), July 6 (IANS) A private security guard, who opened fire at a mob of diamond workers, causing death of one person and injuries to six others, was booked Sunday, a police official said. The workers were demanding a hike in wages. Vijay Arjunbhai Zapadia, 21, a diamond factory worker, was killed while six others were injured when the security guard, a former army man, opened fire.

“The situation at present is completely under control. The protest was between 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.,” Superintendent of Police Anupamsinh Gehlot told IANS.

Gehlot said that the guard has been detained and a case has been registered against him.

A case has also been registered against the mob and another against the factory management, he said.

The trouble began Sunday morning when close to 40,000 workers demanding a hike in pay and wages took their protest to the diamond units in Kumbudwadi area of the city, about 200 km from Ahmedabad.

They threw stones at some units and damaged some vehicles.

The private security guard at the diamond unit opened fire that led to the death of the diamond worker and injuries to six others. The injured were rushed to a hospital, and doctors said they were out of danger.

Ever since a 20 percent wage hike was announced by the Surat Diamond Association (SDA), diamond workers across the state Saturday began their agitation for wage hike.

But many manufacturing units are refusing to pay heed to the association’s announcement, leading to workers’ unrest.

Most of India’s diamond-polishing companies are based in Gujarat, mainly in Surat and Bhavnagar. Of every 10 diamonds produced in the world, eight belong to India and about 80 percent of the cut and polishing job is done at Surat.

India has $17 billion worth of trade in cut and polished diamonds every year, and three million workers in Maharashtra and Gujarat are employed in the trade.

Low cost of labour in producing finished diamonds has attracted worldwide attention and has led to the growth of domestic diamond industry.

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