As Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed start-up entrepreneurs at an event in Bengaluru on Monday, a large number of people raised slogans in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi outside the venue. In videos, policemen are seen chasing away protesters shouting "Modi, Modi" loudly outside the Manyata Tech Park, where Rahul Gandhi was delivering his address.
The protesters also put up placards demanding that Rahul Gandhi leave the venue. As the slogans became louder, the police tried to clear the area.
The BJP alleged that several protesters - the party claimed they included techies -- were taken into custody. It also condemned the police action and alleged that Congress workers had attacked the protesters.
Democracy in Danger— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) March 18, 2019
Police arrests few techies for raising pro Modi slogans at Manyata tech park in Bengaluru.
This is the real face of democracy in a Cong JDS ruled state. It's total dictatorship where freedom of choice & expression of citizens is suppressed. pic.twitter.com/5GoQJO2OqI
"Hugs for 'Tukde Tukde' gang and arrest of peaceful youth raising pro-Modi slogans? Where are the champions of 'Free Speech'? Yuvraj of Congress must know 'An era moves in the direction in which the youths move'. Stop intimidating youth of India, which has rejected your brand of politics," BJP president Amit Shah tweeted.
State BJP leader CT Ravi alleged that Congress workers had "attacked techies who shouted Modi-Modi slogans".
The Bengaluru police denied any arrests. "No one has been arrested, only people were dispersed without use of force," said senior police officer Seemanth Kumar Singh in tweets.
The officer said one section of the crowd was "too close to the SPG protectee (Rahul Gandhi)."
The Congress president is among the most protected politicians in India and is guarded by the Special Protection Group (SPG).
Rahul Gandhi campaigned in north Karnataka for next month's national elections and visited Bengaluru before leaving the state.
The Janata Dal Secular-Congress took power in Karnataka last year after elections threw up a hung verdict.