Did police fail to anticipate scale of protests?

April 20, 2016 07:54 am | Updated September 08, 2016 10:21 pm IST - Bengaluru:

Tuesday’s protests were characterised not only by the leaderless outpouring of workers but also by the way the city police and the intelligence underestimated the number of people who took to the streets.

Police concentrated their deployment only on Hosur Road on Tuesday, neglecting other industrial areas that also saw trouble.

Most of the Deputy Commissioners of Police and platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police were in the South East part of the city. Senior officials of North Bengaluru, where protests turned violent, were also busy handling protests off Hosur Road, sources said.

As violence erupted in North Bengaluru – Yeshwanthpur, Jalahalli Cross and Dasarahalli – policemen on the spot were outnumbered. While they were frantically calling out for reinforcements, it took at least two hours for additional forces to arrive.

While the law enforcers were severely stretched in the afternoon, as protesters stormed the Hebbugodi police station, reinforcements to North Bengaluru were held up in kilometres of traffic logjam. There also seemed to be lack of reinforcements on the outskirts like Hebbugodi, Nelamangala and Anekal.

Moreover, an outnumbered police force in North Bengaluru got enraged as they heard of protesters storming Hebbugodi police station and attacking policemen. This was followed by a fierce clash with protesters at Jalahalli cross.

However, commissioner N S Megharik denied that there was a police failure in either anticipating the scale of protests or in handling the situation. He said the police deployment in North Bengaluru was rushed out to Hebbugodi, which was misused by protesters in North Bengaluru.

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