Karnataka bandh against water release to Tamil Nadu peaceful

The Cauvery basin districts and Karnataka’s capital Bangalore witnessed a complete shutdown on Saturday in response to the bandh called by the Kannada Okkoota, a federation of organisations, in protest against the release of Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu.

Barring sporadic incidents of violence, the bandh — which evoked mixed response in the northern and coastal districts — was peaceful. Interestingly, Kodagu district, birthplace of the Cauvery, also witnessed mixed response.

In Bangalore, shops and other business establishments closed while the city’s notoriously choked roads remained deserted for most part of the day with only a few private vehicles plying. Public transport came to a standstill after the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) withdrew services, stranding passengers, particularly those arriving by rail and air. Airport taxi services too were affected for a while.

Kannada activists stormed a financial sector BPO on Bannerghatta Road to forcibly shut it down. However, the employees told The Hindu that they resumed work later. The metro, which began its services normally, suspended operations between 1 p.m. and 6 pm. Police apprehended some Kannada Rakshana Vedike activists who tried to disrupt the metro services in front of M.G. Road station.

Tyres were burnt at a number of junctions and main roads across the city by Kannada activists, who staged protests and raised slogans.

Chemists joined the bandh with at least 5,000 pharmacies remaining closed. Local courts did not function following a boycott by lawyers.