Staff Correspondent

‘If the authorities continue to deceive the workers we will take the issue to the SHRC’

KOLAR: The police arrested Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha (KPRS) taluk president Holur Shankar and another activist, B. Ramesh, in connection with the agitation by hundreds of farm labourers and beneficiaries of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, in front of the taluk panchayat office here on Monday. Five women workers were injured in the alleged police excess.

The KPRS had laid siege to the office demanding proper implementation of the NREGA in the district. When the agitators tried to enter the office to submit a memorandum, the police allegedly resorted to canning the protesters. This led to the five women being injured, while one police constable was reportedly hurt.

After the protesters dispersed, the police took Mr. Shankar and Mr. Ramesh into custody. As soon as the news about the arrest of the leaders spread, hundreds of women gathered near Gulpet Police station where the leaders were detained. Till late night they were seen camping near the police station demanding the release of their leaders.

Reason for protest

Undeterred by the scorching sun earlier in the day, the protesters, mainly women, and several of them carrying their children, carried out a procession from the Inspection Bungalow and ended with the picketing of the taluk panchayat office.

The protesters informed the taluk panchayat executive officer, A. Manjunath, about the irregularities and delay in payment of wages to the workers under the scheme.

Workers such as Saraswatamma and Zarina Taz from Velagalaburre village explained how the gram panchayat secretaries and other government staff were taking advantage of them. Several displayed injuries they had suffered during work.

“If the authorities continue to deceive the workers, of which Dalits form a big portion, we will take the issue to the State Human Rights Commission,” Mr. Holur said during the protest.

They demanded that the district in-charge Minister S.N. Krishnaiah Setty and the Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer visit the spot and resolve the problems.