BENGALURU: Unlike the previous occasion when they buckled to threats from pro-Kannada activists, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation staff cleaned up the black ink sprayed onto Hindi words on name boards of six metro stations in the early hours of Thursday.
Police have filed three cases against the activists and an identification process was being carried out to initiate action against them, said a top cop.“Black ink was sprayed on the white Hindi letterings in Yeshwantpur, Peenya, Deepanjali Nagar, Jayanagar, Goraguntepalya and Mysore Road stations, possibly between 1 am and 3 am by activists affiliated to Kannada Rakshana Vedike,” said a top Metro official.
As soon as the shutters at the stations were opened a few minutes before 5 am on Thursday, homeguards and private security staff realised that the Hindi words were painted black. However, there was no panic or knee-jerk reactions this time.
“Around 35 protestors raised anti-Hindi slogans and sat on dharna at the staircase leading to the entrance of the Kuvempu Road Metro station. They later reached Rajaji Nagar station around 6.20 am and did the same. Police dispersed them within half an hour and their attempts to spray ink were foiled,” said a private security guard present at the station at the time of the incident.
In the previous such incident on July 3, fear of attacks by activists forced Metro employees to camouflage the Hindi names at Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda and Chickpet Metro stations.
Asked by reporters about the incident, Bengaluru Development Minister K J George said, “The state government wants to give priority to Kannada language. Our Chief Minister has already made our stand on this very clear. I have already asked BMRCL to give a report on the incident. Meanwhile, my request is that no one should take the law into their hands.”
One of the protesters said, “Tomorrow (Friday) we will conduct a rally and hand over a memorandum to Mayor Padmavathi to ensure only Kannada boards are used in Metro” He accused BMRCL of ignoring the two-week ultimatum given to them to remove Hindi names at all stations.BMRCL MD Pradeep Singh Kharola refused to comment on the issue.