Writers, freedom fighters lend support to campaign against illegal mining

The Congress' first-ever mass programme against illegal mining of iron ore — the “Nada Rakshana Nadige,” a 320-km march from Bangalore to Bellary — began here on Sunday in the presence of a phalanx of Congress leaders, litterateurs and freedom fighters.

Reminiscent of the agitation against the Nargund firing in the early 1980s in the city by farmers, in which writers, poets, artistes and social activists participated in huge numbers, Jnanpith award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy and writer Baragur Ramachandrappa, freedom fighters H.S. Doreswamy, Krishnamachar and H.G. Sriramulu took part in the inaugural function at the Freedom Park here.

Former Chief Ministers S. Bangarappa and N. Dharam Singh, writers K. Marulasiddappa and G.K. Govinda Rao, and former chairmen of the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission M. Ravivarma Kumar and C.S. Dwarakanath, were present.

Veteran Congressman K.H. Ranganath inaugurated the padayatra, while Mr. Sriramulu gave a sapling to KPCC president R.V. Deshpande as a symbolic gesture for preserving ecology. A large number of leaders, including MLAs, MLCs and former Ministers walked the 15 km-long distance from Seshadri Road up to Jalahalli Circle on Tumkur Road, negotiating the busy Seshadripuram, Malleswaram, Yeshwantpur and Goraguntapalya, garlanding the statues of Gandhiji and Rajiv Gandhi en route.

Deterioration of values

Echoing the views of senior leader B.L. Shankar at the inaugural, Dr. Ramachandrappa said that the participation of the writers like him and freedom fighters underscored their concern over the deterioration of values in public life. He and Dr. Anathamurthy said that they lent support to the padayatra, as they saw it as a genuine protest against the “BJP misrule.”