It happened in Bangalore on this Tuesday ( Jan 17th). As a part of an agitation around 300 advocates assembled together and blocked the City’s center that resulted in a massive traffic jam and untold inconvenience to commuters for more than six hours.
The provocation for this flash demonstration of solidarity amongst the advocates was that on January 14 three lawyers and two cops had an altercation regarding traffic violation that led to mutual assault. Both the lawyers and police have their own versions of the incident. Instead of taking a lawful route to resolve the issue the lawyers resorted to a flash agitation on a working day in the heart of Bangalore at SBM Circle.
Thousands of office-goers, outstation passengers, school children, college students had a harrowing time. Several ambulances ferrying critical patients ground to a halt in the traffic jam, The advocates shouted slogans and emotions ruled high. There were stone pelting at public transport and police vehicles. They resorted to rasta roko unmoved by the pleas of police and the stranded public. It was finally resolved with the police agreeing to suspend the two cops involved.
About three years back, a former CM of Karnataka held a rally at Palace Grounds to which busloads of people came from all over the state. When the rally ended around 4:00 p.m., hundreds of buses carrying the participants along with city’s regular traffic created a grid lock, forcing school children, office goers and public to walk home. Children reached home as late 8 o’clock in the night!
When such flash agitations occur, it is the public at large, who are least involved with the agitating issue, who are most inconvenienced. The organizers of such rallies or protesters are well aware of the chaos these agitations would cause but they still go ahead with their programme to create the maximum dislocations as possible hoping that government would listen only then.
Imagine the anxious moments of family whose member is in the ambulance needing immediate medical attention , the apprehensive moments of a mother waiting for her child or impatience of passengers trying to catch their train or their flight. I see no reason why people should suffer for no fault of theirs. These agitations provide the ideal climate for unsocial elements to join the fray leading to looting of shops..
In my perspective, all of us have a right to protest, ensure our voice is heard and corrective action taken. But It should be done in peaceful manner holding placards and wearing black badges, Even designated places can be earmarked for such protests even if they are for popular causes like Anna movement as was done at Freedom Park at Bangalore. Alternatively, adequate notice should be given to the official machinery for taking suitable traffic diversions, informing the public, schools and colleges. Taking law into one’s own hands and causing disruption would only result losing public support for the causes,. The concerns should be voiced by peaceful means through various medium such, newspapers, TVs, and social networking sites, The means adopted is as important as the ends.