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Bangalore call centres block strike

Call centres in the city do not take part in strike called over K'taka-M'rashtra border dispute, reports BR Srikanth.

india Updated: Oct 05, 2006 02:52 IST
BR Srikanth
BR Srikanth

A 12-hour bandh called by Karnataka supporters on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute brought the state to a halt on Wednesday - but not its call centres.

Though vehicles were off the roads, the staff turned up in full strength at most call centres in Bangalore. For, they had been put up at hotels and guesthouses near offices. A few call centres diverted their operations to facilities in Hyderabad and Chennai so that outsourcing did not suffer.

Infotech firms like Infosys and Wipro remained closed, but made it clear that employees must work on Saturday to compensate for the loss.

The bandh was called to put pressure on the Centre to implement the Mahajan Commission report that said Belgaum should remain a part of Karnataka.

In Belgaum district, the response to the strike was mixed with people in several border villages ignoring the protest. In a stray incident, 15 people, including four policemen, received minor injuries.

The state capital remained peaceful as over 6,000 policemen patrolled the streets. While the city's major hubs turned into cricket grounds for children, cable channels supported the bandh by blacking out non-Kannada channels.

More than 300 activists led by Vatal Nagaraj, leader of the Kannada Chaluvali, a regional party, and Chandrashekar Patil, president of the Kannada Sahitya Parishad, were taken in custody for defying prohibitory orders near the Raj Bhavan.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who had made a last-minute appeal to call the bandh off, said Belgaum was an integral part of the state and that he would lead a delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and reiterate the state's position in the border row.

Kumaraswamy told reporters that the mood of the state was reflected in the unanimous resolution passed in the Belgaum assembly session that demanded the implementation of the Mahajan Commission report. "The strike has become irrelevant because we held a successful session in Belgaum," he said.

Director General of Police BS Sial said the bandh had been peaceful. The strike call had the tacit support of the ruling Janata Dal (S) while its coalition partner, the BJP, was more guarded.

First Published: Oct 05, 2006 00:00 IST