The government in the budget for financial year 2016-17 had announced a new rule around EPF (Employee Provident Funds) according to which an employee cannot withdraw their provident fund amount before turning 58. The decision hadn’t gone down well with the majority of employees who consider provident fund another form of savings and a cover for a rainy day.
While most of the detractors had lashed out on social media against the decision, the protests took an ugly and violent turn in Bengaluru today. Thousands of garment factory workers and others launched angry riots in parts of the city protesting against the government ruling.
10,000 government workers in a factory located in Hosur launched the first protest, causing a 7 hour jam on the Hosur road, and another set of workers followed suit and broke out into a riot near the Bangalore-Mysore highway. All of Hosur road, parts of Bannerghatta road, the Bangalore Mysore highway and other areas in Bangalore were affected.
As many as 5 buses were set afire, cars attacked, stones were thrown, and the police even had to launch bullets in the air to attempt to clear out the unruly mobs and divert traffic.
The riots caused traffic jams for upto 12 hours, causing major traffic jams in the rest of the city too. People who witnessed the PF protests scene weren’t happy. “As someone who was caught in the Hosur road chaos for 5 hours yesterday, let me tell you, it started turning violent right in front of where I was standing. And it was the protestors who started throwing stones and empty bottles at the cops. There is no good that can come of inconveniencing the general public. “, says a citizen who wishes to remain anonymous.
The central government has now put on hold the controversial policy around provident fund until July.
Update: The government has now withdrawn the new PF policy on withdrawals and as of now it stands reverted to the previous version.