Wistron violence: 132 detained, ‘full protection’ to plant assured

Karnataka govt strongly condemned violence at Taiwanese Wistron Corporation manufacturing facility in Narasapura Industrial Area, police has detained at least 132 people so far

Photo Courtesy: IANS
Photo Courtesy: IANS


Karnataka government strongly condemned the violence at the Taiwanese Wistron Corporation manufacturing facility in Narasapura Industrial Area and Karnataka police has detained at least 132 people so far in connection with the violence that erupted around 6 a.m. on Saturday.

Violence broke out at the Taiwanese Wistron Corporation's plant near Kolar where iPhones and other IT products are manufactured as a large number of workers went on a rampage over issues related to payment of salary, police said.

The Taiwanese Wistron Corporation manufacturing facility in Narasapura Industrial Area manufacturing facility is touted to be the country's first iPhone manufacturing plant, is in Kolar district.

"We received the information that the employees had problems related to their salary payment," Inspector General of Police Seemant Kumar Singh told reporters after visiting the Wistron facility, adding investigations were on.

In response to a question on the extent of damage, Singh said the company would assess it and quickly added that employees should have approached the labour commissioner if they had any grievances.

The workers in the morning shift hurled stones, smashed glass windows, damaged vehicles, furniture, computers and laptops, another police officer said.

Video clips showed a violent group overturning vehicles, setting them on fire, breaking glass windows in the office leaving a trail of destruction.

Condemning the violence, Deputy Chief Minister C. N. Ashwath Narayan said stringent action would be taken against the perpetrators.

Narayan, who holds the IT-BT and Higher Education portfolio, termed the incident as unfortunate.

"Whether employees are anyone else, whoever is responsible for attack on the plant and damaging its property, they will face stringent action," he said in a statement.

A detailed investigation would be carried out to identify the reasons for the unrest among the workers, the situation that enraged those in the morning shift and cover aspects related to payment of salary.

According to him, if the employees were facing such issues, they should have approached the Labour Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner of the district instead of taking law into the hands.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the officials of his department were in touch with the officials of Wistron.

While Major and Medium Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar asserted that the state government would give required protection to the Taiwanese company in Kolar which was vandalised by its employees.

Regretting the unpleasant incident, the Minister said that it is not right to take the law into one's hand no matter what the problem was.

"The incident at the Winstron plant is unfortunate and unacceptable. The state government is committed to conducting a full and fair investigation into the incident and punishing the wrongdoers," he said in a statement released to the media.

He quickly added that on one hand the Karnataka government is taking steps to develop industries and on the other hand it is also committed to the protection of the worker's right as well . "The problem could have been resolved if it had been adequately addressed as per law," he said.

Wistron company is yet to respond to the violence and to the charges levelled by its employees.

The plant reportedly came under attack by its employees allegedly over salary dues. As per reports, there were around 2,000 employees in the morning shift.

Upset over the salary-related issue, the employees went on a rampage at the plant, destroying furniture and assembly units and even attempting to set fire to vehicles.

Upon receiving a complaint, senior police officers along with additional personnel from Kolar district have rushed to the spot.

In the videos that were shot by a few fellow employees during the arson, those leading the mobs were seen breaking glass panes and doors, turning cars upside down and attacking the offices of senior executives.

The iPhone plant established on 43 acres at Narasapura industrial area in Kolar is around 60 km from Bengaluru.

The Narasapura facility is reportedly used to manufacture Apple's smartphone iPhone SE, Internet of Things (IOT) products and biotech devices.

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