Both sides had dug themselves in for a long haul. Each willing to play the waiting game to see who blinks first. For nearly a week, the strike at Maruti Udyog Ltd's plant at Gurgaon, Haryana, was turning out be one of those classic management vs union confrontations, which haven't been seen in a long while. But no one was prepared for the events of October 18. That afternoon, 56-year-old Chander Bhan, a water pump operator in the factory, was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. Later that evening, the body of Rajesh Kumar, a 20-year-old Maruti apprentice, was discovered nearly 10 km away from the factory. The next morning, Anand Singh Bohra, a 39-year-old draftsman at Maruti, was hospitalised.
As she fights back the tears, Anand's wife Shashi Bohra recounts the night of October 18, when her husband came back from the factory, "He was agitated and tense and kept mumbling to himself about his job and colleagues. At 11:30, he ran out of the house talking incoherently." Bohra finally calmed down, but worse was in store. "He woke up at five in the morning, crying, saying my children will die if I don't go back to work," she recounts. He was rushed to the nearby Sumangala Hospital. Says Dr K.K. Sharma, who initially treated Bohra, "He was suffering from a psychotic disorder, apparently induced by stress." Bohra has now been referred to a mental health hospital.