Nearly 936 workers employed in Bengaluru's Namma Metro project staged a protest on Sunday, May 3, in Bommanahalli demanding to let them go back to their hometowns during the national lockdown.
Hundreds of workers who were employed by URC Constructions Ltd to build the metro line between RV Road and HSR Layout broke out to the streets demanding to their employers on the immediate arrangements needed to send them back home.
Metro workers against police
The situation worsened when the workers had a tussle with the police officers there. Stones were pelted by the workers, damaging the vehicles parked on the premises. This instigated the police to resort to a mild lathi-charge.
Over 900 workers were residing in Bommanahalli, most of them from Jharkhand and Bihar. These migrant workers were not allowed to return back home despite the state's measures on arranging services for the interstate travel for stranded workers.
The workers have been protesting for two days by refusing to work at the construction sites. They demanded to be paid their wages and allowed to leave.
On Sunday, according to the workers, the police caned them when the labourers refused to back down from their demands.
"We don't want to work. We don't even want the money they owe us, we just want to go home," says an employee. "Police came into the camp and hit us. Workers also broke things in frustration," adds another.
No salary or food for the workers
The workers also complained that their company and employers had stopped providing salaries and ration kits since the commencement f the national lockdown in March.
URC construction in a joint venture with Hindustan Construction Company which builds the 6.5km metro line between RV Road and HSR Layout.
According to the Additional commissioner of police East, S Murugan, the workers started to protest at around 3pm on Sunday. The feud was a resultant of the workers' misunderstanding of the police involvement, who in fact reached the spot to pacify the workers. A few of the police officers were reported injured from the incident.
The workers said that there have been no water or food at their sheds, and their employers have not taken care of their needs. "Many of us have not been paid and we are struggling to get food," they complained.