• Thursday, July 25, 2024


Italy PM Meloni pays homage to Indian worker left to die after horrific accident

The prime minister said the worker, Satnam Singh, was a victim of ‘horrible and inhuman acts’ with a ‘disgusting attitude’ from his employer.

(L-R) Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) and members of the Indian community protest along with unions of agriculture workers on June 25, 2024 in Latina, near Rome, following the gruesome death of an Indian worker who was allegedly left to die following a accident. (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images).

By: Shubham Ghosh

ITALIAN prime minister Georgi Meloni on Wednesday (26) commemorated the death of an Indian agricultural worker near Rome last week after he was allegedly abandoned by his employer on the road following a gruesome accident in which one of his arms was severed by a heavy machinery.

The victim, identified as Satnam Singh, was allegedly left to die without any medical aid and the incident sparked massive protests across the southern European nation, with people demanding strict action against the culprit and end to “slavery”. Singh, who was an illegal immigrant, was airlifted later to a hospital in Rome but could not be saved due to excessive loss of blood.

“He was thrown out like a dog. There is exploitation every day, we suffer it every day, and it must end now. We come here to work, not to die,” Gurmukh Singh, head of the Indian community in the Lazio region of central Italy told AFP.

Read: After horrific death of colleague, Indian farm workers in Italy seek end to ‘slavery’

After a top Italian minister condemned the incident recently, Meloni brought up the issue in her country’s parliament and paid homage to the 31-year-old Singh. Addressing the House, she said the Indian worker was a victim of “horrible and inhuman acts” with a “disgusting attitude” from his employer.

Protest in Italy following the gruesome death of an Indian farm worker
Gurmukh Singh, head of the Indian community in the region of Lazio in southern Italy addresses the crowd during a protest of the Indian community on June 25, 2024 in Latina, near Rome. Thousands of Indian farm labourers urged an end to “slavery” in Italy after the grizzly death of a worker shone a light on the brutal exploitation of undocumented migrants. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP) (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)

Reports said that Singh’s employer, Antonello Lovato, took him and his wife into a van and left them by the side of the road. Lovato has reportedly been charged with negligent manslaughter. The severed arm was placed in a fruit crate after the accident.

The PM, who recently hosted the G7 summit in her country where her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi was also present and is known to have a rapport with the latter, also vowed strict punishment for the guilty.

After Meloni paid her condolences, the entire Italian Cabinet stood up to pay tribute to Singh.

India asks Italy to take prompt action

India also on Wednesday asked Italy to take prompt action against those responsible for the death of Singh.

Muktesh Pardeshi, secretary (consular, passport, visa and Overseas Indian Affairs) in the ministry of external affairs, conveyed to Luigi Maria Vignali, the director general for Italian Citizens Abroad and Migration Policies, New Delhi’s “deep concern” about the death, the Indian embassy in Italy said in a post on X on Wednesday.

Read: India opposition leader slams Modi-Meloni memes online: ‘Absolutely cringe’

He “called for prompt action against those responsible. Embassy is in contact with the family of Satnam Singh for consular help & transportation of mortal remains,” the mission added.

The embassy said Singh hailed from the Indian state of Punjab.

Singh’s widow Soni, who was treated for shock after her husband’s fatal accident, got a special ‘justice’ stay permit to end her illegal status in Italy, the country’s Ansa News Agency reported.

The incident brought to the fore the misery of several farm workers from poorer countries, who move to Italy’s Latina province in search of work, but end up getting trapped, underpaid, overworked, injured, and sometimes like Singh, even killed.

(With agency inputs)

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