Hundreds of commuters inconvenienced as Bengaluru Metro workers go on flash strike

This comes a day after an ugly fight broke out between security personnel and the metro staff.
Hundreds of commuters inconvenienced as Bengaluru Metro workers go on flash strike
Hundreds of commuters inconvenienced as Bengaluru Metro workers go on flash strike
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Early on Friday morning, commuters who went to Namma Metro stations along the Baiyappanahalli-Nayandahalli line were greeted with an unexpected surprise – the Metro stations were not operational.

The trains scheduled along the line were not running as BMRCL staff went on an overnight protest against the arrest of six Metro workers on Thursday. They camped outside the Baiyappanahalli and Nayandahalli Station and demanded that their arrested colleagues be released.

Metro services along the North-South and the East-West corridors have been shut completely and commuters have to take alternative modes of transport including buses, autos and taxis to reach their destination.

Commuters were also agitated with the fact that there was no intimation by the authorities about the strike. A commuter at the Indiranagar metro station, Chirag, told TNM that he was very surprised at the turn of events and like many other commuters who had arrived at the metro on Friday morning. "It is a public amenity. It is the responsibility of the BMRCL to inform the public (about the disruption) because people make plans accordingly," Chirag said. 

He added that although he had been trying to book a cab to work, he hadn't been getting one for almost half an hour.

According to ACP Traffic, Hitendra, traffic jams are likely to increase as people have to travel by road.

"Around 500 people have gathered outside the Majestic Metro Station and are protesting. Many city residents are also waiting outside the metro station, waiting for services to start. Traffic diversions will definitely cause jams. Security has been beefed up as there is also a possibility that angry commuters may resort to violence," ACP Hitendra added. 

While the police have beefed up security at the metro stations, BMRCL officials tried to convince the protesters to call off the strike. However, the workers are unrelenting and say that the protest will not be called off until their colleagues are released.

The workers' protest was triggered by an ugly fight, which broke out on Thursday between employees of the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) and the Karnataka State Industrial Security Force (KSISF) constables, who were on duty at the Sir M Visvesvaraya Metro Station (Central College).

This incident resulted in six BMRCL staffers getting arrested after an FIR was filed at the Halasuru Gate Police Station against BMRCL employees for assaulting the KSISF personnel including a woman, while the Metro staff held a silent protest against the “attitude” of the security staff.

According to the Halasuru Gate Police, Anand Guddad, Lakshman and Bharathi (the woman security officer) were on duty at the entrance of the metro station at the City Civil Court entrance, when they were assaulted by Rakesh, an electronic maintenance staffer with the BMRCL, and four of his colleagues. 

“The maintenance staff refused to run their belongings through the scanner while reporting to work every day. The BMRCL staff were of the opinion that they need not scan their belongings as they work there every day,” the Halasuru Gate Police said.

Police have scanned the CCTV footage, which has captured the BMRCL staffers beating up the KSISF personnel.

At 6.10 am on Thursday, Rakesh arrived City Civil Court entrance of the metro station and refused to run his bag through the scanner.

“The footage showed him arguing with Guddad. A heated argument erupts between the two and Rakesh walks off without scanning his belongings. Guddad follows him to the stairs and slaps him, which led to fisticuffs. Guddad’s two colleagues then took him away,” the police added.

Upon questioning the related parties, it was revealed that Guddad insisted that Rakesh runs his bag through the scanner. The two men allegedly abused each other, and Rakesh walked off without running his bag through the scanner. Guddad confronted him and later slapped him. 

“The fight did not stop there. At around 9.40 am, the footage shows Rakesh coming to the entrance along with five of his colleagues. They beat up Guddad and two other guards. We were immediately informed and we took both parties to the station,” the police added.

Guddad filed a complaint of assault and criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty and rioting, against Rakesh and others.

“We have registered an FIR and are identifying those who were involved in the assault based on the video footage we have obtained,” DCP Central, Chandragupta, said.

Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) personnel were deployed near all Metro stations in Central Bengaluru as a precautionary measure after the sign boards were masked.

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