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Monday: Over 30,000 garment workers took to the streets on Monday to protest against the amendments to the Employee Provident Fund Scheme proposed in this year’s Union Budget.

The leaderless mob moved towards Bommanahalli and blocked the main Hosur Road, throwing traffic out of gear. The busy Bommanahalli area was completely shut down, as shopkeepers downed shutters fearing violence.

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Senior police officers rushed to the spot and attempted to pacify the protesters in vain. Around 12.45 pm on Monday, some mischief-mongers pelted stones prompting the police to retaliate. The policemen fired teargas and used lathi-charge to clear the crowds. Over 35 persons were reportedly injured in this incident. Among them, four garment workers and a policeman sustained serious injuries and are undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Four police vehicles and four buses were damaged in stone-pelting.

Protesters dispersed from the Bommanahalli junction only to congregate at Singasandra, targeting the EPF office. They pelted stones at the office, but police stopped them from barging inside. They were able to protect the EPF office’s staff from the wrath of the protesters. It was only when the protesters dispersed from Singasandra around 4.30 pm that the police succeeded in clearing all the roads in the vicinity.

Tuesday: Again thousands of garment workers in Bengaluru blocked traffic on a highway and set vehicles on fire, protesting for the second day against amendments to provident fund rules. Police fired warning shots after the protesters threw stones at the Hebbagodi Police Station and torched seized vehicles parked there. Around 20 people were arrested after the incident which left several policemen injured.

On Tuesday, too, the workers burnt buses, cars and police vehicles and also blocked traffic on the highway, causing a three-hour jam. The rules, which restrict withdrawal of provident fund, have been put on hold at least till July, the government said today. The protests, mainly at Hosur Road, Tumkur Road and Jalahalli, caused jams across the city.

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