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Police cane agitating farmers

Staff Reporter

Bangalore: The police on Sunday evening caned farmers at Hemmigepura near here and even thrashed one farmer with an iron rod when they were agitating against the arrest of their leaders near the Karnataka Chief Minister's home office, ‘Krishna', in the city. They were protesting against keeping them out of a crucial meeting related to the controversial Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.

The incident happened after Panchalingaiah, president of the NICE Bhoo Swadheena Virodhi Raitha Horata Samithi, and others were taken into preventive custody by the city police when they tried to break the security cordon on Kumara Krupa Road near ‘Krishna,' the venue of the BMIC meeting.

As news of their arrest spread, the farmers near Hemmigepura who were also on their way to ‘Krishna', began an agitation by trying to block the peripheral ring road built as part of the BMIC. The police, who outnumbered the agitators, swung into action to clear the road.

This angered the farmers, who pelted vehicles with stones and also damaged a toll booth.

The police, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Devaraj, resorted to caning. The video footage captured by a private television channel showed an agitator collapsing soon after he was assaulted by a senior police officer with the iron rod.

An elderly farmer, N. Venkatachalaiah, vice-president of the Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha, who was injured in the police action, has been admitted to a private hospital near Kengeri and is in the Intensive Care Unit. Eight others were detained at the Harohalli police station.

While condemning the police action, the samithi termed the use of the iron rod by the police “the height of the State government's brutality against farmers.”

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