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Riot effect: No production at Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant, says spokesperson

Maruti Suzuki India spokesman Puneep Dhawan said the plant stopped production on Wednesday night because "the plant is burnt in sections. You cannot make any cars."

BT Online Bureau        Last Updated: July 19, 2012  | 18:14 IST

Maruti Suzuki India has 'shut down' its Manesar plant after rioting sparked by a labour dispute killed one person and injured dozens of others.

Company spokesman Puneep Dhawan said the plant stopped production on Wednesday night because of fire damage caused by rioting workers.

"The plant is burnt in sections. You cannot make any cars," he said.

Dhawan said no decision had been taken on whether to reopen the 550,000-vehicle-a-year plant in Manesar, in the north Indian state of Haryana.

Shares of the company plunged over 7 per cent in mid-day trade on the bourses.

The company is still trying to identify a dead body found charred beyond recognition in a conference room, he said.

The company, which is a subsidiary of Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp, said in a statement that at least 40 managers and executives had been hospitalised with injuries.

The police is pursuing some 60 workers, including union leaders, on charges including murder and damaging property.

According to Maruti, the unrest was sparked when a worker beat up a supervisor on Wednesday morning. The company said the union prevented management from disciplining the worker, blocked exit gates and "held the executives hostage."

After talks broke down, workers "attacked members of the senior management, executives and managers," and ransacked the property, the company said.

The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, in a statement distributed to Indian media, offered a different version of events, saying that a supervisor had "abused" and made "casteist comments" against a low-caste worker.

Instead of taking action against the supervisor, management suspended the worker, the union said. The union denied responsibility for the violence, saying that management had sent in hundreds of "bouncers" to attack the workers with "sharp weapons and arms" and set fire to part of the factory.

Maruti Suzuki said production at its Gurgaon plant, which can produce 900,000 vehicles a year, was unaffected.

With inputs from Associated Press

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