Bengaluru: Clashes break out between JDS workers and farmer activists at Cubbon

  • Violence ensued at Bengaluru's Cubbon Park when farmers leader Kodihalli Chandrasekhar arrived at the Bengaluru Press Club for a press conference to address corruption charges levelled against him.
Farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar during a press meet after a clash between JD(S) supporters and his supporters at Press Club, in Bengaluru on Saturday. (ANI Photo)(Shashidhar Byrappa)
Farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar during a press meet after a clash between JD(S) supporters and his supporters at Press Club, in Bengaluru on Saturday. (ANI Photo)(Shashidhar Byrappa)
Published on May 29, 2022 02:23 PM IST
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ByYamini C S | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar

Clashes broke out between farmers' groups and Janata Dal (Secular) party workers at Bengaluru's Cubbon Park on Saturday when Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar arrived near the Press Club for a press conference to address the corruption charges levelled against him.

Chandrasekhar, who recently joined Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is accused of taking bribes to halt Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) workers' protests.

Chandrashekar had said the AAP should be viewed as the “alternative” to all three political parties, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and JDS in the state.

Media reports claimed that Chandrashekar was challenged by several JDS workers who were already present at the venue before his arrival. They were reportedly protesting against the farmers' leader and even said he has insulted the farmers of the state and has no right to address a press conference. 

A report by Republic World claimed that the JDS workers went after Chandrashekar and tried to stop him from entering the Press Club. Meanwhile, Chandrashekar's supporters had also assembled near the Press Club and upon seeing JDS workers confronting their leader, they too engaged in heated arguments.

Farmers' groups said Chandrashekar has every right to address the media and that he should not be stopped from doing so. Several farmers supporting Chandrashekar were seen donning green shawls, which is a signature of the farmers movement in Karnataka.

Elsewhere, KRRS members also staged protests against Chandrashekar outside a district court in Mysuru on Saturday. Local media reports said several members of the farmers' group have demanded that the CBI conduct an investigation into the alleged corruption charges against Chandrashekar. 

KRRS president Chamarasa Mali Patil, who attended the protest, told reporters that Chandrashekar tried to interfere in the KSRTC protest in the name of farmers' interests.

The allegations were levelled against Chandrashekar after a local media channel conducted a sting operation on him, and showed that he was allegedly taking bribes to halt the KSRTC workers' strike that happened in April last year.

Led by Chandrashekar himself, the strike went on for 14 days. Protesters had demanded revised pay for government transport workers. The strike cost the government millions of rupees and resulted in authorities firing more than 4,000 workers across the four state-run transport corporations involved in the strike.

Reports suggest that multiple sacked employees from the state transport department have committed suicide in the past, and several more are struggling to make ends meet.

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