Riots in Bangalore: Bengaluru cops say majority of rioters lost jobs and had no income | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Preliminary investigations have revealed the pandemic-induced lockdown played a major role in the violence that rocked KG Halli and surrounding areas in Bengaluru on the night of August 11 (Tuesday). Police say people’s pent up frustration over being confined to their homes without income for months together saw them vent their fury.
Hundreds of men hit the road and attacked police as they marched towards KG Halli station where a mob had staged a sit-in demonstration over a Facebook post that offended a minority community.
After smashing streetlights and forcing police to stumble around in the dark, the men used all sorts of objects — from stones and bricks to flower pots, wooden logs and gunny bags loaded with old vessels — as missiles, raining them down on the force and targeting whatever caught their eye. Vehicles bore the brunt of the assault, while tyres were set on fire.
Police, who went to question residents in the lanes where the attacks were mounted, found that most of the men had fled their homes fearing arrest. Womenfolk, with whom police interacted, revealed more than 85% of the men in the area were without jobs or a steady income.
“These localities are dotted with slums and shanties and there is poverty all around,” a senior officer privy to the investigations said. “People residing here are daily-wage workers. They work in eateries or as carpenters, masons and assistants at shops, while some sell vegetables on pushcarts. During the first phase of the nationwide lockdown between March 23 and May 4, they were forced to remain indoors. After lockdown restrictions were lifted, many lost their jobs and they could not find new ones. They ran out of whatever money they had saved and finding a source of income became difficult as there was no helping hand.”
The officer went on to say, “Schools launched online classes from mid-June and they directed parents to pay their wards’ fees. Most parents had no money to pay. These factors only pushed them into depression and disgruntlement.”
These areas have long been cauldrons of resentment. From issues like the Citizenship Amendment Act and the Ram Mandir, their sense of persecution has had a long history, the officer pointed out.
“If one remembers, residents of KG Halli and DJ Halli were most active during protests against CAA,” the officer said. “People here would participate in one rally or another. Now, with no such rallies and government restricting protests, they are under the impression that they have lost the battle and fear further marginalisation. Their poor financial status has only made matters worse.”
The officer said, “These men were easy pickings for instigators, who had their own axe to grind. They were simply a tool to attack the police.”

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Sagar Biswas

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