Thousands in Bengaluru struggled this morning as metro services came to a halt for nearly seven hours over a protest by its employees against the arrest of their colleagues. The services have been resumed after negotiations with the workers who were on strike was successful. Metro trains across the IT city have not been running since 5 am.
Speaking to NDTV, metro officials alleged that on Thursday morning, employees at a station in the city were attacked by Karnataka policemen posted for security.
About 35 metro staff allegedly retaliated, after which six employees were arrested. Four of them have been released but the metro staff is demanding that the remaining two be let off. Two constables of the Karnataka State Industrial Security Forces were also arrested on the complaint of a Metro staffer.
Officials say negotiations are on to get the staff to resume service.
Around three lakh people use the Bengaluru Metro in a day.
The final stretch of the first phase was recently inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Extra police security was provided at metro stations recently because of strident protests over the three-language rule and the use of Hindi in metro signboards and announcements.
A #NammaMetroHindiBeda – “Our Metro, We don’t want Hindi” – campaign on social media escalated when pro-Kannada groups threatened to blacken signs and vandalise stations if Hindi was not dropped.
Earlier this week, signs at some stations were masked to cover up the Hindi portions.
Officials said the Bengaluru Metro, jointly funded by the state and centre, followed a central government order to enforce the three-language rule. Pro-Kannada groups call it an imposition and an attempt to promote Hindi at the cost of regional languages.
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