Mob goes berserk in B'lore

Mob goes berserk in B'lore

Mob goes berserk in B'lore

Fumes of anger: Fire personnel putting out fire after a mob torched a van at Uttarahalli in Bangalore on Wednesday. DH Photo

By the end of day, scores of people were injured including City Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari, 78 BMTC buses damaged, three media vehicles torched, and several buildings attacked.

In their frenzy, the mob even attempted to set a few buses ablaze. “Services were partially suspended in areas such as Banashankari, Uttarahalli, Jayanagar, Padmanabhanagar and Gandhi Bazar on Wednesday afternoon,” said K S Vishwanath, chief traffic manager (Operations), BMTC.

The ripple effects of stone pelting was also seen in Konankunte, near Kanakapura Road as BMTC temporarily suspended services on police advice. However, the services were resumed later in the evening.

Lathi-charge, tear-gas
The violence was particularly severe near Abhimaan Studios. Unable to gain entry to the cremation site, the crowds set fire to three media vehicles, and pelted stones at other passing vehicles. The police had to resort to lathi-charge and burst tear-gas shells to control the surging crowds. Many started  jumping the compound, forcing the police to resort to mild lathi charge. A visibly upset film star Ambareesh initially pleaded with the people to maintain calm and not upset the proceedings, but had to scream later to be heard. At the National College Grounds in Basavanagudi, where Vishnuvardhan’s body was kept for public viewing, over 50,000 people turned up. Several thousands had come from north Karnataka alone to pay their tribute to the late actor.  Fans were seen forcing shop owners to down shutters shops. While some agreed to close their shops, there were others who had to face the wrath.

Eatery attacked
Mc Donald's fast food chain located at Ramakrishna Ashrama Circle bore the brunt of the wrath of the supporters. Irked by the store’s refusal to shut down, the mob smashed the entire place. No injuries were reported.

Trouble was mounting at the National College Grounds. A mild lathi-charge to control the crowds, soon turned into a full blown encounter, with people chucking stones at police men and their vehicles. Cops retorted by firing tear gas shells and rubber bullets. In the fracas, two police constables and 10 persons sustained minor injuries.
The glass facade on nearby buildings were damaged in a free-for-all and the surging crowds climbed on buildings and on to anything else they could find. The National College flyover was inundated with the crowds, who then proceeded to remove the barricades dividing the road and throw them into the air. Fans paraded in two wheelers and autorickshaws carrying huge banners of the late actor near NCG.
The commotion at NCG reached its peak, when supporters from north Karnataka were momentarily unable to get a glimpse of the late actor. That resulted in fierce stone pelting by the frenzied mob, who further destroyed huge business complexes. The hapless cops were unable to contain the fans some of whom had tried to salve their grief with alcohol.

Lawlessness spilled onto the nearby DVG road, where shutting shops did not help traders much. Any building with a glass facade was targetted by a volley of stones. Around 4 pm, a mob of around 400 people entered DVG road and started destroying all property. An onlooker said that not only were the shops attacked with stones and anything that could be turned into an implement, but cars parked on the roads, ATMs and signboards were not spared.

The angry mob vented their fury against police for putting too many hurdles in getting a  glimpse of their hero. As a result, people tried to break the barricades and run pell mell towards the venue at National College. This attracted another round of caning by the police.

The police also lobbed tear gas canisters on the unruly mob. In this scuffle, which was followed by stampede, many people were injured. A 14-year-old boy Pradeep got serious injuries in his right thigh in the stampede. He was taken to the hospital immediately.