The second successive day of protests in Bengaluru by workers from major garment factories on the provident fund issue, surprised all observers in terms of scale and severity of the protests.
Reportedly, nearly one lakh protestors, mostly women, gathered on the streets at various places. Some parts of the gathered crowds allegedly turned violent, and a number of public buses were damaged. Some elements in the crowd also targeted various public and private properties.
Some scale of the size and severity of protests is visible in the fact that the police reportedly fired 100 rounds of teargas shells, besides opening fire in the air and lathicharging crowds.
Besides the volume of shells fired, the use of tear gas is itself not very frequent in Bengaluru. Here is a look at past incidents when the police in Bengaluru had to use tear gas
- In December 2015, in Bhoopsandra, a northern Bengaluru locality, police fired tear gas shells in order to contain an alleged communal clash between two groups. The HT report said there were conflicting reports on what led to the incident. Some Dalits and Muslims alleged that an RSS-backed leader incited violence by not allowing Muslims and Dalits in the locality to pray. The leader, on the other hand, claimed that Muslims desecrating a local temple triggered violence. Reportedly close to a dozen people were injured.
- In January 2015, reacting to the alleged molestation of a seven-year-old girl, parents of a private school in the city held protests against the school management. Despite the accused having been taken into custody, the situation remained tense. When some people in the crowd allegedly threw bottles and stones, police resorted to dispersing the crowd with tear gas and baton charges.
- In March 2012, a scuffle broke out between a section of lawyers and media persons around the coverage of former minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddyâ€™s appearance before a CBI court in the city in relation to an illegal mining case. This escalated quickly, with alleged stone pelting by lawyers that injured media persons as well as police personnel including then Deputy Commissioner of Police Ramesh. The police then responded with tear gas and lathi charges.
- In December 2009, after news of Kannada actor Vishnuvardhanâ€™s death spread, frantic fans in various parts of the city threw stones and burnt tyres forcing shopkeepers in several areas to shut shop. More than 50 vehicles were allegedly damaged in the violence, various private properties damaged and several individuals, including police personnel were injured. Police used rubber bullets and tear gas shells to quell the crowds.
- In April, 2006, on the occasion of Kannada filmstar Rajkumar's demise, a major confrontation developed between police and frenzied fans angered by inadequate arrangements for them to have a last glimpse of their icons, and resulted in the loss of four lives, besides leaving over a hundred people injured. Police reportedly used 3,000 teargas shells as the violent mob torched petrol stations and vehicles, and damaged multiple shops and establishments.
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