- Metro staff protested against arrest of colleagues yesterday
- Metro services have been halted since 5 am
- Employees were attacked by cops at a station: metro staff
"We earlier had no problem with the management. Suddenly yesterday, after the police hit us, they came in to arrest. We were upset that they were allowed inside - they can only come in with management permission. We wondered why the management had let them in," said Siddanagowda, an employee.
Metro trains across the IT city had not been running since 5 am. The first trains only ran around noon when the strike was called off - but it did disrupt the day for many commuters.
"Actually I'm coming from Jayanagar. The green line was closed and then I was hoping the purple line was open. But when I reached here even the purple line is closed... So this is the bad day for me," said one commuter.
Another passenger who was not aware about the strike said, "I want to go to Mantri Mall, but it is closed today so I am worried."
Speaking to NDTV, metro officials alleged that on Thursday morning, employees at a station in the city were attacked by Karnataka policemen posted for security.
About 35 metro staff allegedly retaliated, after which six employees were arrested. Four of them have been released but the metro staff is demanding that the remaining two be let off. Two constables of the Karnataka State Industrial Security Forces were also arrested on the complaint of a Metro staffer.
Additional Commissioner, Law and Order, West Hemant Nimbalkar said a meeting on the issue is to be held next week.
Around three lakh people use the Bengaluru Metro in a day.
Extra police security was provided at metro stations recently because of strident protests over the three-language rule and the use of Hindi in metro signboards and announcements.
A #NammaMetroHindiBeda - "Our Metro, We don't want Hindi" - campaign on social media escalated when pro-Kannada groups threatened to blacken signs and vandalise stations if Hindi was not dropped.
Earlier this week, signs at some stations were masked to cover up the Hindi portions.
Officials said the Bengaluru Metro, jointly funded by the state and centre, followed a central government order to enforce the three-language rule. Pro-Kannada groups call it an imposition and an attempt to promote Hindi at the cost of regional languages.
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