Multinational company Infosys has filed a police complaint against a mob which forced about 400 of its employees from the Bengaluru office to get off 10 buses that were ferrying them and walk home, reports said.
The incident took place on 12 September, at the height of the agitation against the Supreme Court's mandate to the government of Karnataka to release water from River Cauvery to Tamil Nadu.
As incidents of violence and the burning of vehicles bearing Tamil Nadu registration numbers broke out in Bengaluru that day, the company had arranged for buses to transport its staff back home. But as the buses reached NICE Link Road, a crowd stopped them. It included the 22 people who had set fire to 40 buses in a parking yard off Mysuru Road, The Times of India reported.
The group also had C. Bhagya, a 22-year-old woman who was reportedly persuaded to join the protest on the promise of Rs 100 and a plate of biryani. The employees were asked to get off the buses without exception — differently-abled people and women were not spared — and asked to walk back home. Two women sustained serious injuries as the window shield of one of the buses was broken. Some of the men allegedly misbehaved with the women.
Police sources gave a chilling account of the incident that took place between PES College and NICE toll booth to TOI.
About 150-200 people, some of them drunk, stopped the buses and asked the passengers to speak in Kannada in order to ascertain if they were locals. They also asked them to join the protest.
"When some employees tried to reason out with the miscreants that it was late evening and they had a long way to go to reach home, things threatened to get out of hand. They smashed the window pane of a bus," sources said.
On a complaint from Infosys, the police have registered cases against the accused under different sections of the Indian Penal Code, including unlawful assembly (143), unlawful assembly with deadly weapon (144), rioting with deadly weapons (148), wrongful restraint (341), wrongful confinement (342), promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language (153-A), punishment of criminal conspiracy (IPC 120B) and Prevention of Destruction and Loss of Property Act of 1981. Some of the accused are already in custody, a few more will be arrested, police said.
Bengaluru has around 30,000 Infosys employees, many of whom are from outside the state. "While we take many measures to ensure their safety, we also have a reasonable expectation that the state will do its bit to protect them from troublemakers," read the company's complaint to the police, according to a report in Bangalore Mirror.
"As part of company policy, we are required to bring any incident concerning the well-being of our employees to the attention of the authorities, which was done in this case," Infosys also said to TOI.
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