The Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Karnataka on Monday saw the State grind to a total halt as practically all vehicles — public and private — went off the road, commercial establishments downed shutters and schools and colleges remained shut. The closure was part of the all-India bandh called by central Opposition parties protesting against the latest fuel price hike.
The bandh was peaceful across the State, barring a few instances of stone-throwing in Bangalore, Kolar and Hubli, said Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) A.R. Infant. Two trains in Hubli and one each in Mysore and Tumkur were detained for a few minutes by bandh supporters.
While the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation withdrew its services, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation did likewise after 10 a.m. by when protesters had damaged 68 buses. With various autorickshaw and taxi drivers' unions supporting the bandh, no public transport was available.
While government offices reported thin attendance, private companies, shopping malls, theatres and petroleum outlets declared a holiday.
Though train services were normal, those who arrived in railway stations and the airport had to face a harrowing time as they had no means of transport to reach their destinations. Some flights were cancelled or combined with others. Absence of public transport severely affected poor people with ailments as they were unable to reach hospitals. Closure of establishments at the Agricultural Product Marketing Committees and regular markets across the State severely affected labourers. In Bangalore, the police arrested 81 protesters. The former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda walked from the Janata Dal (Secular) office on Racecourse Road to Freedom Park to express his support for the bandh while Medical Education Minister Ramachandra Gowda walked all the way from his residence in Basaveshwaranagar to the Vidhana Soudha.