KARNATAKA

Protesting daily wage workers lathicharged

GULBARGA, MARCH 3. The Gulbarga Police on Wednesday resorted to what daily wage workers described as unprovoked lathicharge on them.

They were demanding that their salary for four months, which has been held up for want of money in the zilla panchayat, be released.

It all began when nearly 50 daily wage workers tried to meet the Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer to present a memorandum seeking his intervention.

However, the policemen posted there prevented them and pushed them back.

The workers and the policemen entered into an argument resulting in the workers staging a dharna in front of the main gate of the old Deputy Commissioner's office which now houses the office of the Chief Executive Officer and other government offices. There was more trouble when the police tried to pick up two workers who had allegedly used abusive language against them while they (worker) were being pushed back from the main gate. Even as the police personnel tried to drag the two workers from their group, their colleagues picked up yet another round of wordy duel with the policemen, who then resorted to lathicharge on the workers and pushed them back further.

After the police resorted to lathicharge, a miscreant threw a stone on a police van stationed near the spot.

This led to another round of police lathicharge against the protesting workers.

Shashil G. Namoshi, MLC and President of the district unit of the BJP, who met the workers, condemned the police action and said the workers who were on strike for a genuine demand, should have been treated in a humane way.

The Superintendent of Police, Ramachandra Rao, who arrived at the spot, held discussions with the workers. Speaking to presspersons, Dr. Rao said the police were doing their duty to contain "mob violence.'' He also promised the workers that two of their colleagues picked up by the police would be released soon.

Later, the workers pitched up a tent to begin an indefinite relay hunger strike in support of their demand.