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Indian agricultural worker dies in Italy after gruesome accident


The death of an Indian agricultural worker has caused outrage in Italy after gruesome details of the deadly work accident emerged.

Satnam Singh reportedly bled to death after being injured by a machine in Borgo Santa Maria, south of Rome. His arm was severed in the incident, while both his legs were crushed.

Investigators said Singh’s employer did not immediately bring him to hospital, instead driving him back to his accommodation, where his severed arm was found in a fruit crate.

Singh’s wife was in the vicinity when the accident happened and told police that she had begged the employer to help him. “I begged him on my knees. But he dropped us off in front of the house and ran away,” she said.

The 31-year-old was eventually transported to a hospital in Rome by helicopter after neighbours called emergency services, more than an hour after the incident occurred. Singh died of his injuries at the hospital on Wednesday.

Singh had reportedly been living in Italy with his wife since 2021 but did not have an official work permit.

The public prosecutor’s office is already investigating Singh’s alleged employer, a 37-year-old Italian, for negligent homicide, failure to render assistance and breaches of safety regulations.

The employer defended his actions in the La Repubblica newspaper on Thursday. He said he had panicked and claimed that Singh did not have permission to use the machine, which is used to cover fields in plastic tarpaulin.

The incident has led to consternation in Italy, with trade unions denouncing conditions in the country’s agricultural sector as a form of modern slavery.

Around 230,000 people are believed to be employed illegally in the sector, with the workers in Borgo Santa Maria reportedly being paid around €4 (US$4.30) per hour.

In the country’s poorer southern regions, refugee children are believed to be employed in the fields. Workers are also expected to labour under extreme heat, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees in Italy this week.

Hardeep Kaur, general secretary of the local chapter of the Italian Federation of Agroindustrial Workers union in the region, said: “Unfortunately, it is not a horror film. It is all true.”

Labour Minister Marina Calderone called the incident an “act of barbarism,” while Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida – the brother-in-law of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni – said: “We are confronted with a tragedy that cannot leave us indifferent and must be fully investigated.”

Lollobrigida said illegal labour in Italian agriculture will face a crackdown with greater penalties for employers.

Authorities have ordered flags in the region to be flown at half-mast, while the state is expected to cover the costs of Singh’s funeral.



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