Garment workers state-wide protest against new Provident Fund norm turned violent on the second day as vehicles were burnt and stone pelting was reported in various places.

 

Thousands of protesters blocked the Bengaluru - Mysuru and Tumakuru national highways, causing massive traffic jam.

 

In Bengaluru, protesters torched buses in Jalahalli  while stone pelting was reported at Gorguntepalya. In the violent protests in Tumkuru, at least five women were injured. Incidents of stone-pelting on buses and other vehicles were reported also from Bannerghatta and Jalahalli cross, as also near the Electronics City - the hub of IT firms. State DGP Om Prakash said the situation went out of control at Hebbagodi and Jalahalli, where reinforcements had to be deploy, however, the situation is now under control.

 

According to State Transport Department, 50 buses belonging to Karnataka State Transport Corporation (KSRTC) were damaged and seven were burnt, and three buses belonging to Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) were burnt and 36 were damaged.

 

Thousands of workers also have gathered in Mandya, Srirangapatna, Maddur and Ramnagar. On the Bengaluru-Tumakuru national highway, traffic has come to a standstill for at least seven km. Hundreds of police personnel have been deployed on the stretch.

 

The trade unions, however, claim that the situation turned violent after police lathi charged the peaceful protesters. . "We staged a peaceful protest but when police resorted to lathi charge on women, the crowd became violent. The problem is with the government and its attitude towards the people," All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) Secretary, Nagaraju said.
    

In Bengaluru alone, there are an estimated 12 lakh garment workers. The workers in Karnataka are protesting against the new PF rule which compels workers to wait till they turn 58 to withdraw PF.
 

The Central Government, however, on Tuesday announced it has eased the planned restriction on withdrawal of contribution to the employees' provident fund. Read More