Around 200 members from non-governmental organisations, social activists and community members from the Ejipura slums, who were holding protests alleging land-grabbing by the builders in connivance with the civic body were taken into preventive custody on Saturday morning.
At 11 am, thousand-odd protestors began marching from the Dr Ambedkar statue in Austin Town towards the Economically Weak Sections (EWS) quarters in Ejipura. They were distributing pamphlets to the public, shouting slogans, and had put up banners in and around the EWS quarters.
The police present at the march then warned the agitators not to go near the construction site as there were injunction orders, and soon started roughing up the agitating members, said an activist.
“We were not the only ones to be manhandled. Ten relief workers who were distributing food and water in the morning, even before we reached the site, were surrounded by 30-40 policemen and forcibly taken away in vans to a tin shed in Adugodi, for no fault of theirs,” said an activist.
A senior police officer present at the spot claimed otherwise.
He said, “We have no problem with activists handing out food and water to slum-dwellers; but they also kept giving locals false hopes, saying that the land would be returned to them.” The Karnataka High Court has already made its decision; 1,512 apartments will be constructed within two years for all the previous legal residents, and they will also get 30 years of free maintenance for the homes.”
“The HC order also bars people from shouting slogans and sticking banners in and around the site, which the protestors were doing. We had no choice, we had to arrest them,” he said.
While majority of the protestors including the locals were released with a warning, six main activists who led the protest have been taken into preventive custody, he said.