Indian farm labourer ‘left to die on road’ in Italy after arm severed and legs crushed in machine

Indian farm labourer ‘left to die on road’ in Italy after arm severed and legs crushed in machine

An Indian worker was allegedly left to die by the roadside by his employer after his arm was severed and his legs were crushed while working on a farm in rural Italy, according to reports.

Satnam Singh, 31, suffered severe injuries while working on heavy machinery on a farm in Latina, a rural area close to Rome on Monday.

Singh’s employer, Antonello Lovato, is accused of driving the injured worker and his wife in a van and leaving them on the road near their home in Borgo Santa Maria. His severed arm was placed in a fruit box, according to Italian media.

Singh and his wife waited for medical help for an hour and a half before an air ambulance airlifted him to the San Camillo Forlalini hospital in Rome. He died of his injuries on Wednesday.

Mr Lovato is under investigation for manslaughter, negligence of workplace safety regulations, and failure to provide aid.

The incident sparked outrage in the region with trade unionists calling for a crackdown on the “barbaric exploitation” of immigrant workers.

The Indian embassy in Italy said it was in contact with local authorities and they are “deeply saddened by the unfortunate demise of an Indian national”.

“Efforts are underway to contact the family and provide consular assistance," the Indian embassy said.

The Flai CGIL trade union has said it will protest the death of Singh on Saturday and called on agriculture workers to strike that day.

"We are faced with a situation of real slavery. The death of a worker – an undocumented worker – is of unprecedented gravity,” Maurizio Landini, the union’s secretary general, said.

Laura Hardeep Kaur, general secretary of the Frosinone-Latina unit of the trade union, said: “He was left on the road like a bag of rags, like a sack of rubbish … despite his wife begging [the employer] to take him to hospital.

“Here we are not only faced with a serious workplace accident, which in itself is already alarming, we are faced with barbaric exploitation. Enough now.”

Latina, where Singh worked, is the home to a large immigrant population from India where Punjabis and Sikhs mostly work on farmlands.

Singh arrived two years ago with his family and worked as an undocumented labourer.

The system of hiring undocumented labourers across Italy is known as “caporalato” which refers to a gangmaster system where they are hired by middlemen on low salaries and without insurance or medical benefits.

Ms Kaur said that Singh was being paid around €5 an hour without a legal work contract.

“Foreign labourers continue to be invisible, at the mercy of ferocious bosses, often Italian,” she added.

Italy’s labour minister, Marina Calderone, condemned the incident saying it was the “true act of barbarity” and said those responsible would be punished.

“The Indian agricultural worker who suffered a serious accident in the countryside of Latina and was abandoned in very serious conditions … has died,” she told parliament.

Agriculture minister Francesco Lollobrigida said the government of Giorgia Meloni is “on the frontline to fight against all labour exploitation.

“This is a tragedy which mustn’t leave us indifferent and on which full light must be shed.”

The centre-left Democratic Party called the incident a “defeat for civilization".

“As a Democratic Party, we are close to Satnam Singh’s wife and all his loved ones, aware that the deep pain of separation is associated with the dramatic awareness of the double violence that occurred,” it said.

“The atrocious violence of those who preferred to try to hide their responsibilities in providing aid to this young worker, inevitably compromising his chances of survival.”