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Tribals take out protest march for 7.5% reservation, traffic

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

Hundreds of tribals including those from the Valmiki community staged a protest here demanding 7.5 per cent increase in the reservation for STs in education and employment, which threw the city traffic out of gear in several places.

Led by Valmiki Gurupeeth seer, Swami Prasannananda Puri, the tribals walked all the way from Rajanahalli in Davangere district to Freedom Park here, covering a distance of 281 km.

On reaching the city, a large group of protesters decided to march towards the Vidhana Soudha but were stopped by police.

When they tried to break through the barricades, police used batons to disperse them, prompting a few of the agitatorsto squat on the road in protest.

Later, they were taken to the Freedom Park where the demonstration was in progress.

The chaos at the central business district of Bengaluru brought the city to its knees, as thousands of vehicles were stranded in the traffic jam.

The chock-a-block had a cascading effect on almost all important roads of the central region of the city.

Water Resource Minister D K Shivakumar, who was at the Vidhana Soudha and had to attend a hearing in the court, was caught in the jam.

With no other option, he took the Metro train to reach the court.

The agitators told PTI that the Centre "generously" increased the reservation for the Valmiki community but the state government has not yet implemented it.

A delegation tried to meet the chief minister, which did not happen.

As the agitation intensified, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara rushed to the spot where already many leaders including, forest minister Satish Jarkiholi, and BJP MLA Sriramulu were present.

Speaking to Reporters, the seer of Valmiki Gurupeeth said, "In view of the massive support by the people of the community, on behalf of the government deputy chief minister Dr Parameshwara assured us that a decision regarding increasing the reservation by 7. 5 per cent will be taken in the next cabinet meeting.

He has given us two months time."

The seer warned that the government would collapse if thedecision was not taken in two months, as all the15 MLAs belonging to the ST community would be insisted to resign.

"We will intensify our agitation if the government did notkeep up its promise," the seer said.

Former Congress MP V S Ugrappa, who belongs to the Valmiki community told PTI that UPA-I government had in 2005 increased the reservations for the community to 7.5 per cent in central government jobs and education.

With the community demanding a similar hike in the state, the Karnataka government assured that a committee would be formed to look into the matter and submit its report, he said.

Based on its recommendations a decision would be taken, he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 25 2019. 17:05 IST