• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Diaspora

Italian employer, who dumped severely injured Indian worker to die, arrested

A demonstrator holds a placard that reads: “Justice for Satnam Singh” during a protest called by Italian trade union CGIL following the death of an Indian farm labourer, Satnam Singh. (Photo credit: Reuters)

By: Shelbin MS

THE ITALIAN police has arrested the owner of an agricultural company who abandoned a 31-year-old Indian worker on the road without medical assistance after his arm was severed by heavy farm machinery, leading to his death.

Satnam Singh’s arm was severed by a strawberry wrapping machine in Lazio, near Rome, last month. He was left by his employer and died from “copious bleeding,” according to the ANSA news agency. Singh, a Sikh casual farm laborer, was found and airlifted to a hospital in Rome, where he died two days later.

Police arrested Antonello Lovato on suspicion of causing Singh’s death. Prosecutors stated that Singh could have been saved if he had received prompt medical assistance.

“We were waiting for this news, we were angry,” said Gurmukh Singh, president of the Lazio Indian community. “The worst thing Lovato did was to leave him outside his home instead of taking him to the hospital,” he added. “An accident can happen, but not calling for medical assistance is unacceptable.”

Singh’s death has sparked outrage against gangmastering, which is widespread in Italy, especially in the south. Lovato reportedly loaded Singh and his wife into a van and left them by the side of the road near their home, placing Singh’s severed arm in a fruit crate. Singh’s widow, Soni, received a special ‘justice’ stay permit to end her illegal status in Italy.

On 26 June, India asked Italy to take prompt action against those responsible for Singh’s death. Muktesh Pardeshi, Secretary [CPV & OIA], conveyed India’s “deep concern” to Luigi Maria Vignali, Director General for Italian Citizens Abroad and Migration Policies. The Indian Embassy in Italy said it is in contact with Singh’s family for consular help and transportation of his mortal remains.

Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni described Singh as the victim of “inhuman acts.” She stated, “These are inhumane acts that do not belong to the Italian people. I hope that this barbarity will be punished harshly.”

Italy’s minister of labour, Marina Calderone, called Singh’s death an “act of barbarity.” Giuseppe Conte, leader of the opposition 5-Star Movement (M5S), urged action against gangmastering, highlighting the brutal conditions faced by workers. Conte wrote on X about the severe exploitation of laborers, comparing the situation to historical slavery.

Gangmastering and the violent exploitation of migrant farm labourers remain chronic issues in Italy, particularly in the south. Latina hosts thousands of immigrant laborers, many of them Sikhs, working for the local ‘agro-mafia.’

Workplace accident insurance agency INAIL reported that fatal accidents in Italy rose to 268 in the first four months of this year, up from about 100 last year.

(With inputs from PTI)

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