The office of the District Urban Development Cell (DUDC), located in the Deputy Commissioner's office compound here, was ransacked, the office of the Forest Department and the Regional Transport Office, a petrol bunk and a couple of North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation buses were stoned by a group during the Bellary bandh called by the district unit of the BJP here on Tuesday to protest against the arrest of their leader G. Janardhan Reddy, former Minister, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
A man called Sangaiah from Sangankal village tried to immolate himself by dousing himself with kerosene. The police foiled the attempt.
Barring these untoward incidents, the bandh passed off peacefully.
Meanwhile, normal life was affected. The city wore a deserted look with all shops and business establishments, hotels and cinemas remaining closed for the day. Holiday was declared for schools and colleges. Due to the cancellation of all city bus services and moffusil services of NEKRTC, office-goers and long-distance travellers were affected.
The supporters of Janardhan Reddy and the BJP, who had gathered in large numbers, blocked Gadagi Chennappa Circle affecting the movement of vehicular traffic. They also burnt the effigy of Sonia Gandhi, AICC president, holding the Congress responsible for the arrest of Mr. Reddy.
Motorcycle-riding youths were seen moving in groups forcing shops and other establishments, including banks and government offices, to down the shutters. One of the groups that went round the Deputy Commissioner's office compound ransacked the office of DUDC. It broke four personal computers. The group also damaged a glass on the table in the Assistant Commissioner's office when the government employees did not agree to come out of these two offices.
Deputy Commissioner Amlan Aditya Biswas, who watched the vandalism on closed circuit TV, rushed to the spot. However, the group fled. “Some of our staff members have identified a couple of people who ransacked the office. One of those involved is Sunil Reddy, personal assistant of the local MLA. A case has been registered with the police with instructions to arrest them,” he said.
Another group was reported to have indulged in pelting stones on the office of the Forest Department and the Regional Transport Office.
Chandragupta, Superintendent of Police, said that he had instructed his staff to take the group of youths moving on motorcycles forcing closures of shops into custody.
However, there were no details about the number of arrests made by the police.
Guttiganur Virupaksha Gowda, president of the district unit of the BJP, K.A. Ramalingappa, chairman of the Central Relief Committee, S. Gurulinganagoud, chairman of the Bellary Urban Development Authority, and Karur Thimma Reddy, chairman of Raichur, Bellary, Koppal Milk Producers Union, participated in a protest procession.
According to information reaching here, the bandh observed in Kampli and Sirguppa towns passed off peacefully.