Factory Workers Attack Private Home
By Dinouk Colombage
Factory workers attached to the HEMAS plant within the MANISHA (Pvt) Ltd in Haldanduwana-Dankotuwa have been sacked following an attack on a neighbour’s house.
Oliver Jahnel, and his wife Sabrina, were in their home on July 23 at 2.45 pm when three workers from the neighbouring factory attacked the house with sticks and stones. It lasted for over 30 minutes. Despite calling the emergency police number it took 20 minutes before a unit arrived at the scene, by which point servere damage had been caused to the house including the solar panelling. Jahnel explained that it was only when he released his dogs that the men ran away. “I had released several of my dogs and luckily one of them was a Rottweiler. If they had not chased the men away I do not know what further damage would have been caused to the house,” he said.
Jahnel accused HEMAS and MANISHA of having not taken any proper responsibility for the damage caused to the house. “When we demanded compensation from the companies they said that because it happened outside of their premises it was not their concern,” he said.
However, following the incident the manager of MANISHA identified one of the men and reported him to HEMAS. The police arrested the men and took them in for questioning, they are now out on bail with the case expected to be taken up on October 22.
Jahnel questioned if both managers were able to identify the men then why was no official apology issued to him and his wife. “Official charges being laid against the three employees and they have been fired from their jobs. If the companies are willing to fire them for their actions then they should also compensate us for the damage caused. Obviously they are taking ownership of the men by firing them from their jobs,” Jahnel said.
He said that up to date HEMAS had not even acknowledged them, “I have tried contacting HEMAS but to no avail. The manager at MANISHA explained to us that it was not their concern, they too have not followed up this incident.”
He went on to explain that he and his wife have been forced to endure similar such behaviour from the workers for over a year. “The premises next to my house often plays host to the factory workers in the night. They will be up till all sorts of hours drinking, the next morning we are forced to pick up the garbage that they have left behind,” he said.
He added that he had made several complaints prior to this to the management but no action had been taken. “When they assaulted my house I had had enough, I set my dog on them to scare them away and show them I would not be intimidated in my own home,” Jahnel said.
Police spokesperson, SP Ajith Rohana, confirmed that an entry had been placed against the men and that their case would be taken up in the courts on October 22. Despite repeated attempts neither MANISHA nor HEMAS commented on the issue.