The plight of Karnataka farmers dependent on Cauvery water, no doubt, needs to be highlighted in the wake of the release of water to Tamil Nadu. But whether a bandh is the best way to do that is a moot question. The groups that organised the bandh on Saturday claim that people voluntarily participated in the protests. However, most people remained indoors in the comfort of their homes, while those travelling to distant places were left stranded at various points. Businessmen and daily wage earners were the worst hit.
The Karnataka government and all political parties in the State should approach the issue dispassionately to arrive at a reasonable water-sharing arrangement. This is not the time to score political points and draw mileage by keeping the issue alive through unreasonable demands and inflaming people’s passions.
Bandh as a means of protest has become frequent, causing immense problems to thousands of people. Those who arrive in the city where a call for a bandh has been given are put to great difficulty as transport is paralysed and taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers demand exorbitant fares. The police are helpless spectators. Shops are forced to down their shutters. People are intimidated into joining the bandh — spontaneity is rare. It is time for those who organise bandhs to think of alternative means of protests that do not hurt the aam aadmi.