Bengaluru: Caught off guard by sudden escalation of violence during the garment workers' protest over the Provident Fund issue, authorities have deployed central forces in the city and clamped prohibitory orders.
According to reports, over 150 buses of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) were damaged in a single day of vandalism. The estimated losses of the damage on Tuesday were to the tune of Rs 20 crores.
Rapid Action Force personnel on Wednesday staged a flag march along the Jalahalli Cross stretch, one of the worst-hit by the violence yesterday, even as police arrested about 50 persons in connection with the untoward incidents.
Along the stretch from Madiwala to Bengaluru's IT corridor Electronics City which saw widespread protest and violence, 15 platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), three platoons of Central Reserve Police Force and RAF and six to seven City Armed Reserve (CAR) platoons have been deployed, a top police official said.
"We have registered around 18 cases, yesterday nine and day before nine; and about 50 persons have been arrested so far," Additional Commissioner of Police (East-Bengaluru City) Harishekaran said.
He said photographs and footage of those involved in stone pelting, assault on police and torching of vehicles are available with police and they would be arrested.
In a spurt of violence, protesting garment workers set several vehicles ablaze and attacked a police station on Tuesday forcing the government to revoke the amendment to Provident Fund rules that caused the unexpected spontaneous unrest.
Protesters had gone on the rampage pelting stones at Hebbagodi police station and torching seized vehicles there.
The agitation which began on Monday, spun out of control yesterday in which several people, including 25 policemen, were injured and traffic was thrown out of gear as thousands of workers took to the streets at different places.
More than 60 policemen and 37 people were injured, while over 100 vehicles were damaged across the city by violent mobs. (Photo: Deccan Chronicle)
City Police Commissioner has promulgated prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC in the limits of Bengaluru city till the midnight of April 22. Harishekharan said police are also visiting garment factories and informing workers about the government's stand. "There is no protest or procession today... We are still going to be on alert," he added.
Workers opposing amendment to Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act have expressed fear that the new rule would take away their right over the employer's contribution of Provident Fund till they attain 58 years.
Buckling under protests, government revoked the order tightening rules for withdrawal of Provident Fund money, hours after deciding to keep it in abeyance for three more months.
Meanwhile, a few media representatives today petitioned Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seeking action against police officials who were allegedly involved in violence against scribes who had gone to cover the protest by garment workers.
Both Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Home Minister G Parameshwara assured action after inquiry. "...lathicharge on journalists is wrong, we will inquire in to it and take action. I have already spoken to the Commissioner," Siddaramaiah said.