Bengaluru goes up in flames as workers protest against PF norm

The agitation against the tightening of PF norms spun out of control yesterday; cops had to resort to lathicharge and teargas shells to disperse violent protesters

Bengaluru: Several buses were set on fire and a police station was attacked as protest by garment factory workers against the new provident fund rules turned violent on the second day of their stir here yesterday.

Police beating up one of the protesters. Pics/PTI
Police beating up one of the protesters. Pics/PTI

Protesters pelted stones at Hebbagodi Police Station and torched seized vehicles parked there, as the spontaneous agitation with no trade union leading it spun out of control. Police said they had to resort to lathicharge and fire teargas shells to disperse violent protesters. At least two Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses and one of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation have been set on fire, police said.

Charred buses which were torched by garment workers during a protest rally over the EPF withdrawal norm
Charred buses which were torched by garment workers during a protest rally over the EPF withdrawal norm

Under control
City Police Commissioner N S Megharikh said the situation was under control, but there “are some issues” on the city’s outskirts. “We are at work, our officers are at the spot, and reinforcement has already gone there. The situation is being brought under control,” he said. Police said other workers too have joined garment workers in the protest yesterday.

State DGP Om Prakash said the situation went out of control at Hebbagodi and Jalahalli, where reinforcements had been sent. He appealed to the protesters to hold discussions with the department concerned to resolve the issue.

Govt rolls back amendments
The government yesterday revoked the order of tightening rules for withdrawal of provident fund money. Giving reasons for the rollback, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said, “The reason is the request of trade unions. The earlier decision (PF amendment) was also taken after the opinion of trade unions.”

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