Students demand road widening

Death of a student triggers protest in Bagepalli

A tense environment prevailed till evening as students, youth and residents came together to stage the massive protest and warned that a Bagepalli bundh will be called for on Monday if a decision is not taken in this regard.

Owners of roadside shops were in the eye of the storm as they have refused to cooperate  for road widening work despite an order from the High Court. The protesters warned of ransacking the shops if the owners did not extend cooperation for widening the roads.

The protest was triggered by the death of student in a road accident on Thursday evening. Sadiq (16), a student of first year PUC in National College was killed on the spot as a private bus rammed the motorcycle he was riding. Irate public blocked the road on the night itself blaming narrow road for the accident.

Students who held a meeting in the college in the morning blocked traffic at SBM Circle for over four hours demanding initiation of criminal proceedings against the Assistant Executive Officer of Public Works Department for not taking up road widening despite an High Court order. They demanded compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased student. On the other hand, hundreds of people who attended the Friday prayer at the mosques, also took out a protest march.

The main road in the town resembles a lane and it had been three months since the High Court ordered to widen the road to 100 feet. The officers concerned have not implemented the order owing to political pressure. Eight people have lost lives on the narrow road in the recent past, they alleged.

Action promised

Tahsildar Hanumantharaya who arrived at the spot said that the operation to evict the shops will start from Saturday itself. He also promised payment of ex gratia to the family of the student killed in the accident.

With tensions running high,  there were all signs of the things going out of control. However, police succeeded in pacifying the protesters, who warned of  Bagepalli bundh on Monday, if the work didn’t start on Saturday. Dalit Sangharsha Samiti leaders B V Venkataramana, Jayanth, Guluru Babu, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike general secretary Chandrashekhar, councillors Kalimulla, Majid, Zakir, Noorulla and others took part in the protest.

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