The police have claimed that Srikanth allegedly planned the protest and instigated the workers.

Srikanth SFI's Kolar taluk president
news Crime Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 09:36

The Kolar police on Thursday detained the taluk President of Students’ Federation of India, an association affiliated with Communist Party of India, in connection with the vandalism that took place at Wistron’s iPhone manufactory in Kolar on December 12. 

The Kolar Rural Police, who are probing the case, had detained Srikanth on Wednesday. The Kolar Rural Police said employees, who were not paid outstanding salary amounts and payment for overtime work, had allegedly approached Srikanth a few weeks ago, seeking help to organise a protest. 

On December 12, the employees of Wistron and SFI had planned to hold a protest outside Kolar Collector Sathyabhama’s office at 11 am. Police alleged that Srikanth curated a WhatsApp message, calling for the protest outside the Collector's office, which was circulated widely among employees. 

The Kolar Rural Police said that Srikanth and several SFI activists allegedly entered Wistron’s premises on the morning of December 12, and alleged that they too were part of the vandalism that occurred. However, Srikanth's presence at the factory has not been proven and the police are investigating the same.

“Srikanth was detained. We are questioning his involvement in instigating the violence and also bringing in people outside of the company’s employees into the plant which was vandalised,” the police said.

Wistron’s employees on the night shift had gone to meet the HR Department personnel with a letter demanding that the company pay the outstanding dues and the money for overtime work. Employees that TNM spoke to earlier had said that they were stonewalled. They also said that December 12 was not the first time they had approached Wistron’s management with their grievances and that the anger among thousands of employees was simmering over the last six months. The Kolar Police has arrested 132 people so far. 

Also read: Wistron iPhone plant violence: Workers say months of pent-up anger behind outburst

An FIR was registered against 7,000 unidentified persons, including 5,000 contract workers at the Kolar Rural Police Station on December 12, for vandalism, criminal breach of peace, rioting and assault. 

Also read: Losses from Wistron violence drastically downgraded from Rs 437 cr to Rs 52 cr. Here's why