Friday, November 02, 2007

Protesters hold city to ransom

Protesters hold city to ransom

Staff Reporter

A stretch of Queen’s Road closed for traffic from noon to 4 p.m.

There was a scramble for food packets and vehicles were parked haphazardly

Cubbon Park turns into dumping yard with waste strewn all around

— Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

FORCED DETOUR: Vehicles passing through Cubbon Park when traffic was diverted because of BJP’s protest rally in Bangalore on Wednesday.

BANGALORE: Thousands of people were put to inconvenience on Wednesday as vehicular movement was crippled in the central business district for over four hours because of a massive rally held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) near Mahatma Gandhi statue on Mahatma Gandhi Road.

The party had organised the rally to urge Governor Rameshwar Thakur to invite BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa to form the Government. Around 25,000 BJP supporters squatted on Queen’s Road, between Jewels De Paragon junction and Minsk Square, forcing the police to close the road for traffic from noon to 4 p.m. Vehicles coming from Kasturba Road were not allowed towards Mahatma Gandhi Road.

Although the police diverted the traffic inside Cubbon Park, it was still a bumper-to-bumper ride. Even the roads inside the Cubbon Park were choked. As the Queen’s Road was closed, it led to traffic snarls on adjoining roads such as Mahatma Gandhi Road, Cubbon Road, Kasturba Road, St. Mark’s Road, Infantry Road, Dr. Ambedkar Veedhi, and Raj Bhavan Road.

From 10.30 a.m. to 2 p.m., groups of BJP workers came in processions from different directions. Several vans and buses carrying the party workers were stopped near Minsk Square and Cubbon Park to allow them to alight from the vehicles. All these contributed to the chaos.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic-Central) K. Eshwar Prasad, who was regulating traffic near the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, had a miraculous escape. A policeman dragged Mr. Prasad to safety when a private bus almost knocked him down.

To ensure that no untoward incidents were reported during the rally, nearly 1,500 policemen, including 15 platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) were deployed, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) B.N.S. Reddy told The Hindu.

Not only the public but also the policemen were seen giving vent to their frustration following the traffic jams.

Manjunath, a High Court employee whose motorcycle was caught in traffic jam near GPO Circle, said the BJP should have held the rally at some playground and saved the people from the hardship.

When a BJP leader explained to a senior police officer that such rallies were common in “prajaprabhutva” (democracy), the officer pointed towards the drum-beating protesters and shot back: “Is it prjaprabhuthva or majaprabhuthva?”

In violation of the parking ban, several cars, and vans that had brought party workers were seen haphazardly parked inside the Cubbon Park.

The party had provided food packets to the workers. After having their lunch, the workers had strewn the waste, plastics sheets and empty water sachets all over the park.

There was a scramble for the food packets.

Several hawkers selling cut fruits, guava, cucumber, groundnuts and ice candies made a roaring business near the venue of the rally.


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