K’taka: Valmiki community protests for 7.5 pc reservation, halts traffic for 5 hrs

The Bengaluru  city was brought to a standstill, yesterday, as the members of the Valmiki community held a massive protest in Bengaluru, yesterday, demanding hike in reservation for Scheduled Tribes from the existing 3.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent. The protest led to traffic congestion in several parts of the city. The agitated crowd then marched to converge at Freedom Park.

Traffic movement came to a standstill as they marched from Majestic towards Freedom Park, affecting the entire CBD and leaving commuters stranded. The police had a tough time in managing the protesters as they started targeting government vehicles, leading to heated arguments between both. Led by the Valmiki Gurupeeth seer Swami Prasannananda Puri, the protesters had walked about 280 km from Rajanahalli in Davangere district to Freedom Park here.

Members of the community came from far away places to participate in the protest.   The protest resulted in five-hour long logjam in Vidhana Soudha and its neighbourhood.

As the agitation intensified, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara met them at Freedom Park and assured them that the government would soon set up a committee to look into the issue. “We are committed to take a decision on increasing the reservation in accordance with the law. The issue will be discussed at the next Cabinet meeting. Give us two-months’ time,” he said.

Earlier, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy convened a meeting with Ministers and legislators from the ST community to discuss the reservation issue. Stating that the government was committed towards the welfare of the STs, the Chief Minister said another meeting would be held involving Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge to further discuss the issue.

State power minister DK Shivakumar too got stuck in the jam and decided to take a metro instead. Surprising the commuters there, many clicked selfies with the minister. BJP MLA B Sriramulu, considered one of the tallest leaders of the Valmiki community also expressed his support to the protesters.

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