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.
A large number of business establishments and residential buildings in neighbourhoods that have high concentration of Tamil-speaking people sported the red and yellow Kannada flag.
In Bangalore, the film fraternity took out a procession, led by actor-turned-politician Ambareesh, from the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce to Raj Bhavan showing solidarity. Scores of television artistes also joined in, and a memorandum was submitted to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj later.
Even though entertainment channels were blacked out, most residents preferred to remain indoors.
Life was also thrown out of gear in Mysore, Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts as well as in Kolar, Bellary, Davangere and Shimoga districts. In Mysore, some activists barged into a Wipro facility and damaged electronic equipment after they found some employees working there.
According to the Bangalore police, over 100 persons were taken into custody for disrupting traffic and forcibly shutting down shops in Bangalore.