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Indian farm worker dies in Italy after being left on street with severed arm

Death sparks fresh calls to tackle farm worker exploitation in Italy.

An investigation is underway in Italy into the death of an Indian farm labourer who died on Wednesday after being abandoned by his gangmasters on the street with his severed arm.

Instead of being rushed to hospital, 31-year-old Satnam Singh was left in agony outside his house on Monday, his mutilated arm in a fruit box, in the Latina area south of Rome in the Lazio region.

Neighbours called emergency services and the man - whose arm had been torn off by plastic-wrapping farm machinery - was transported by air ambulance to Rome's San Camillo hospital.

Despite undergoing several operations, the delay in getting Singh to hospital proved fatal and he died of his injuries on Wednesday morning.

The Latina prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into negligence and manslaughter, with several news outlets reporting that the owner of the company for which Singh worked is among those being investigated.

Singh and his wife arrived in Italy a couple of years ago and ended up working - reportedly without a regular contract - in the fields around Latina where there is a large community of labourers from Asian countries

Singh's death has put renewed spotlight on the rampant exploitation of migrants in the agricultural sector, particularly in the south, with many working in slave-like conditions under the illegal gangmaster system.

The incident has also prompted centre-left opposition politicians and trade unions in Italy to demand government action to tackle the situation.

“Throwing a human being into the street with an arm amputated by a machine is a barbaric act" - said the leader of the centre-left Partito Democratico in the labour commission Arturo Scotto - "a violence that takes us back to serfdom. We must continue to condemn gangmastering as not just a hateful practice, but the centre of a production chain that uses these means to save on work. And very often with the active participation of the mafia."

Singh's death, and the circumstances surrounding it, was also condemned by Hardeep Kaur, general secretary of the Frosinone Latina branch of the FLAI-CGIL trade union which represents agricultural labourers and workers in the food processing industry.

“Here we are not only faced with a serious accident at work, which is already alarming and avoidable in itself" - Kaur said - "We are faced with the barbarity of exploitation, which tramples on people's lives, dignity, health and every rule of civilisation”.

The Lazio Region said it will cover Singh's funeral expenses and that in the event of a trial it will act as a civil party.

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