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Strike by local political groups shuts down India's technology hub

Strike by local political groups shuts down India's technology hub

A daylong strike by local political groups Wednesday shut down India's technology hub, Bangalore, forcing many outsourcing companies to shift work to centers elsewhere in the country and abroad, officials said.
The strike was called to press the southern Karnataka state's decades-old claim over a small town in a dispute with neighboring Maharashtra state.
Normal life was crippled across Karnataka state with vehicles staying off the streets, forcing people to stay at home. Schools and colleges also closed for the day.
Bangalore, Karnataka's capital, plays host to top multinational and Indian information technology companies like IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Infosys Technologies Ltd. and Wipro Ltd., which write software and handle back-office work for western companies.
Most of these companies declared a holiday Wednesday, asking their staff to work on Saturday instead, said Shyam Sunder, chief executive of India Relations, a public relations firm whose clients include about 25 information technology companies.
"BPO (business process outsourcing) companies either shifted work to centers outside Bangalore or asked some of their staff to stay overnight so to run critical operations," Sunder said.
The companies planned alternative measures because the strike was announced well in advance, he said.
The protests were largely peaceful, barring one stone-throwing incident in Belgaum, the town at the heart of the dispute, said police officer B.S. Sial. About 15 people, including four policemen, suffered minor injuries, he said.
An Infosys official in Bangalore said the company had "minimal staffing for some operations related to its BPO services." The official, who didn't want to be named because she was not authorized to speak to media, said there was no disruption in any of the company's "critical operations."
A statement from Wipro said all of its offices in Karnataka were closed, but the company enforced its "business continuity plan" by moving work to other centers and making sure that its customers didn't suffer because of the strike.
Officials at IBM and other multinational companies could not be reached for comments.
The strike was called by the Karnataka Border Agitation Committee _ an umbrella organization of local groups _ to pressure the federal government to ignore Maharashtra's claim on the border town of Belgaum, currently part of Karnataka state.
Maharashtra state is demanding the transfer of Belgaum because nearly 60 percent of its residents speak the state's Marathi language. Only 40 percent speak Karnataka's Kannada language.
Cable operators blocked all Hindi and English channels on Wednesday, and broadcast programs only in the local Kannada language.


Updated : 2021-06-13 18:28 GMT+08:00