Bengaluru: On a day when Bengaluru was hosting a major global investment meet, hundreds of Dalit activists hit the nerve centre of the city – Majestic and near Freedom Park, causing major traffic gridlock for over four hours in the neighbouring Central Business District.
The protests turned violent and a police constable was attacked after which 25-30 activists were arrested. Since the city police had deployed its men heavily near Invest Karnataka- 2016 venue, the traffic was hit badly as there were no policemen to salvage the situation.
On Wednesday morning, over 5,000 Dalit students from Mysuru, Mandya and other parts of the state took to streets in Bengaluru demanding reservations in private companies.
The protesters gathered in large number at railway station from where they marched towards Freedom Park and later Vidhana Soudha.
The protesters were demanding reservation in private sector also demanded a hike in their food remuneration from Rs 32 to Rs 100. Dalit students are entitled to Rs 32 per month to meet their food-related costs, they stated.
However, tension prevailed when the protesters tried to barge into Vidhana Soudha by cutting across barricades, to meet the Chief Minister.
Seeing the protestors trying to barge inside Vidhana Soudha, the police in a bid to stop them had to resort to mild lathi charge during which five policemen and a few students were injured.
Asked about the permission given for holding such protests even during the Invest Karnataka Meet, the city police Commissioner N.S. Megharik said, “If they ask for going ahead with peaceful protests, we grant them permission. Whenever there are protests there will be traffic snarls and the police try to contain them”.
“As the mob got aggressive during the protest and when our men tried to control them, one of our constables were attacked. We have arrested around 25-30 people and dispersed the crowd. The traffic was affected for some time, but everything returned to normal afterwards.” Megharik said.