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Japan condemns violence, vandalism at Indian car plant

NEW DELHI -- Japan has condemned violence at a Maruti Suzuki car plant near New Delhi that claimed the life of an executive and left over 80 employees including two Japanese injured.

In a statement Thursday, the embassy of Japan in India said it “strongly deplores the loss of life including one death and scores of injuries caused by the sabotage perpetrated by a group of workers of Maruti Suzuki India.”

The embassy “condemns the violence and vandalism,” the statement added.

India's top carmaker Maruti Suzuki, majority owned by Japan's Suzuki, stopped production at their Manesar plant in the northern state of Haryana after workers attacked managers and set fire to company property on Wednesday.

“We strongly hope that the state of Haryana would administer, according to law, prompt and just punishment to the perpetrators and effectively enforce law and order so that such (incidents) would not be repeated in the future,” said the statement.

A trade union leader gave a different account of the riot, saying a supervisor had insulted a worker from India's lowest social caste and the company then called in “hundreds of bouncers on its payroll to attack the workers.”

Police on Friday said they had arrested 90 workers.

Security has now been tightened at the plant, which employs more than 2,000 people and produces more than 1,000 of Maruti's top-selling cars Swift and A-Star hatchbacks and SX4 sedans everyday.

The extended closure would be a big blow for Maruti, whose profits slid 29 percent last year on the back of labor disputes and a slowdown in Asia's third-largest auto market.

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