It was law versus order

The fallout: People bear the brunt as advocates protest paralyses central business dist

Thousands of commuters in and around the central business district had a horrifying experience on Tuesday due to the traffic chaos triggered by the advocates’ stir.

There was bumper-to-bumper traffic on all major junctions in and around Majestic area, Hudson Circle, Richmond Circle and Town Hall.

Deployment of additional traffic cops and on-the-spot diversions failed to ease the congestion. The police struggled to restore order till late evening.

The traffic jams extended up to more than two kilometre at several places. Thousands of commuters who were forced to get down from the public transport vehicles had to walk to their destinations carrying heavy luggage as they were unable even to hire autorickshaws.

The major roads and junctions that witnessed massive jams included KR Road, KG Road, JC Road, Residency Road, KR Junction, Hudson Circle, Town Hall Junction, Police Thimmaiah Circle and Balekundri Circle. The heavy congestion had its impact on surrounding areas where vehicles crawled at snail’s pace.

“This is really a nightmare. I wanted to go to Jayanagar. I got down from the bus and walked till Town Hall. It took more than one hour for me to move past the City Market,” Karthik R, a business executive, told Deccan Herald. Some others missed their trains as they could not reach the railway station on time.

There was heavy congestion on Goods Shed Road, Seshadri Road, Platform Road, Cottonpet Main Road and Mysore Road. A long queue of vehicles was seen on Raja Rammohun Roy Road, Richmond Road, Mallya Road, Residency Road, KH Road, MG Road and Brigade Road as well. A sea of vehicles was seen on all narrow roads connecting the City Market with KG Road. Vehicles virtually crawled in front of Vidhana Soudha and High Court, as also at Vasanthnagar, Cunningham Road and J C Nagar.

Traffic cops struggle
The police had a tough time managing the chaotic situation on N R Road, Cubbon Road and Ambedkar Veedhi. The police blocked Nrupatunga Road at K R Circle and allowed the vehicle drivers to use the road inside Cubbon Park to move towards Residency Road. The police allowed the vehicles to move on KG Road in front of Cauvery Bhavan to reach Hudson Circle. The vehicles moving towards Kempe Gowda Bus Stand were terminated near the Petrol Bunk at Mysore Bank Circle. Some commuters exchanged heated words with the advocates for causing trouble to the public.

Meanwhile, at the protest site at Mysore Bank Circle, the police were trying hard to evict the advocates. Around 4.15 pm, City Police Commissioner Jyothi Prakash Mirji, along with Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), Sunil Kumar, landed at the protest site.

For nearly 25 minutes, none of the advocates or their leaders met Mirji, who was standing in a corner and watching the happenings. Later, Mirji walked up to them and gave them a patient hearing. He promised to look into the matter and conduct a detailed inquiry.

He also requested the protesting advocates to clear the way and not cause inconvenience to the public. But they were in no mood to listen and continued to sit in the middle of the road. Mirji then returned to his office. At 6.40 pm, the advocates were intimated that the constable in question, Arun, had been suspended. Soon, they dispersed in a victory procession.

Time line
* 11.50am: Citing an incident that took place on January 14, around 80 advocates gather at Mysore Bank Circle and hold protest, disrupting traffic.
* 12 noon: Many more join the protest
* 1 pm: Traffic comes to a grinding halt
* 1-4 pm: Top police officers attempt to convince the protestors to allow movement of traffic, but fail
* 4.10 pm: Police Commissioner Mirji comes to the spot
* 4.30 pm: Mirji turns a mute spectator, but gives the lawyers a patient hearing
* 4.55 pm: He returns to office after talks fail
* 6.50 pm: Protestors vacate the place, after they are told about the constable’s suspension. Traffic eases.

The Jan 14 episode
»The Thyagaraja Nagar police were checking vehicles. Two constables, Arun K and Lokesh, were deployed near Ganesha Mandir Circle, Nagasandra point.
Around 7.30 am, Arun spotted three men on a motorcycle (KA-25-R-6271), without helmet. When his attempt to stop the vehicle failed, he forcibly held on to the handle of the vehicle and stopped the trio.
The three, identified as Raghavendra (26), a resident of Srinivas Nagar, Balakrishna (27) of Shastri Nagar and Lloyd Preetam D’Souza (27) of Audugodi are alleged to have abused the constable on duty. According to the police, they attacked Arun, tore his uniform and pushed him down.
On seeing this, a few residents Laxman, Neelakanta, Prashanth, Vijaykumar, Manjunath, Rama and others rushed to the cop’s rescue who was writhing in pain.
Meanwhile, Lokesh contacted the personnel in Hoysala patrol vehicle.
With the help of the public, the three were taken to the police station. A case was registered under Sections 341, 323, 353 of the IPC. They were produced at the magistrate’s residence.
Later, they were released on bail. Police said only Balakrishna was an advocate, while the other two were engineers.

Advocate’s version
»Advocates claimed that the Tuesday chaos could have been averted had the lawyer - who was allegedly intercepted by a constable on January 14 - had agreed to pay a bribe Rs 100 to the police constable.
Balakrishna recalled he was on his way to a nearby playground on Saturday at about 7.30 pm when a constable from Thyagaraja Nagar Law and Order police station intercepted him near Shastri Nagar, 7-A Cross and demanded documents. Failing which, the constable demanded a bribe of Rs 100.
Balakrishna said, “As I was going to the playground I did not possess anything, including money, so I could not bribe him.”
When the constable started shouting at him, Balakrishna too lost his cool and questioned his authority as a policeman, dealing with law and order and not traffic, to ask for documents and bribe.
He alleged that the constable then dragged him, beat him up in public and brought him to the police station, where in the presence of the sub-inspector, he was beaten black and blue. His swollen legs give the impression that he is an encephalitis patient.
“I was beaten up with lathis and boots for more than two hours and I was kept thirsty from 7.30 am till 2 pm, till I was produced before a court on non-bailable charges,” said Balakrishna. He said he is not able to stand on his feet nor he is able to sit properly.

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