How B’luru Police Outwitted BJP to Control ‘Mangaluru Chalo’ Rally
Using a well oiled plan, cops managed to contain ‘Mangaluru chalo’ protest in the city.
On Tuesday morning, Bengaluru police had a serious law and order situation on their hands. Over 1,000 BJP workers had planned to gather at Bengaluru’s Freedom Park to kick off a massive motorcycle rally to protest the alleged political murders of twenty right-wing activists.
Despite prohibitory orders, BJP workers gathered at the Freedom Park around 11am on Tuesday. But it was only after senior BJP leaders like MP Pratap Sinha, Shobha Karandlaje and former deputy chief minister R Ashoka gave their rousing speeches, did the BJP workers realise that they’d been lured into a trap.
With all the protesters inside the park, the police used the opportunity to not only block all the exits of Freedom Park, but also seize the motorcycles.
Bengaluru police, which had recently faced flak for its inability to contain law and order situation, executed a well-oiled plan, without the protesters realising it. ‘Mangaluru Chalo’ – BJP’s cry against the killings of right wing activists in the state – has been looked at by the Siddaramaiah-led government as a recipe for trouble in the coastal town.
Although the BJP claims that ‘Mangaluru chalo’ is a peaceful protest, the state administration fears that the saffron party’s show of strength in Mangaluru could lead to communal tension.
The largest group of protesters were to ride from Bengaluru to Mangaluru, ahead of the rally on Thursday. However, the Bengaluru police, which has been in the dock recently for its string of intelligence failures, managed to contain the situation efficiently, on Tuesday.
Well-Oiled Plan by Cops
The planning which began soon after the state unit of the BJP submitted its request for permission, ensured the policemen outnumbered the protesters. And although permission was denied and prohibitory orders were issued, the BJP had announced that they would defy the police.
Soon enough, 600 policemen from two different divisions and 140 Rapid Action Force (RAF) men were called in for support along with armed vehicles and water cannons.
Mobile jammers were also installed to ensure that mobilisation of party workers was made difficult.
Cameras to Track Down Protesters
Part of the police’s plan was to make preventive arrests. More than 100 BJP men were taken into preventive custody on Monday, a day prior to the Freedom Park rally.
On Tuesday morning, police stations across the city were asked to arrest protesters from near their homes itself.
“In some places, we had information about protesters coming towards the city. However, in places where we had prior information, CCTV cameras were used to track down the motorcyclists moving in groups and teams intercepted them,” said Malini Krishnamurthy, Additional Commissioner of Police, Law and Order (West).
Lured into Detention
When the protesters approached Freedom Park, from where the rally was to start, the police allowed them to enter. By the time the senior leaders made their speeches, all the motorcyclists had made their way into Freedom Park. Once the motorcyclists were inside, police sealed the entrances of the park using BMTC buses, ensuring no motorcyclist could exit the park.
Once the leaders and party members realised that they were trapped inside, they tried to break out. By then, however, cops had barricaded exits. Then the next step of the plan was kicked in. The leaders and party members were removed from the location.
Motorcycles Towed Away and Seized
With the demonstrators cleared from the park premises, only the motorcycles were left behind. This was when the traffic polices’ towing fleet was called in. All the motorcycles left behind by the protesters were cleared out and kept at the various traffic police stations across the city. Senior police officers said they will be surrendering these motorcycles to court, as it would take a few days to recover the motorcycles from the court’s custody.
Real Test Still Ahead
For the Karnataka police, thwarting the rally in Bengaluru is only a small victory. The real challenge will be in Mangaluru on Thursday. If BJP supporters successfully enter Mangaluru, according to the state intelligence, they will attempt a show of strength in minority dominated sensitive areas of the city.
Prohibitory orders have been enforced in Mangaluru and vehicles are being stopped at the district border. However, having suffered a setback in Bengaluru, the BJP is expected to go all out with the rally, which leaves cops with a bigger task of controlling the demonstrators.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.