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Bandh hits life in Bellary district

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In the dock: Congress leader M. Diwakar Babu being arrested for staging a dharna in Bellary on Wednesday.
In the dock: Congress leader M. Diwakar Babu being arrested for staging a dharna in Bellary on Wednesday.

Staff Correspondent

Protesters decry plan to acquire fertile land for airport

BELLARY: Life in Bellary city and taluks in the district was affected following the bandh observed on Wednesday.

The call for the bandh was given by the Save Agricultural Land Action Committee, comprising leaders of all political parties except the Bharatiya Janata Party, and some voluntary organisations. They were protesting against the Government’s proposal to acquire fertile land for the construction of a new airport here. The bandh passed off peacefully, and no untoward incident was reported in any part of the district. Thirty-nine people (27 in Bellary city and 15 in Kottur town) were taken into custody when they tried to stage dharnas in the two places.

President of the District Congress Committee M. Diwakar Babu, president of the district unit of the Janata Dal (Secular) N. Pratap Reddy, G.N. Nagaraj of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist leader Maruti Manpade were among several prominent leaders who were arrested in the morning. They were released in the evening.

Superintendent of Police Seemant Kumar Singh told The Hindu that preventive arrests were made in Bellary when the leaders put up a shamiana and sat on the main road, as they had not been given permission to do so.

All shops, business establishments, banks, educational institutions and petrol stations remained closed throughout the day. Buses, which were off the road in the morning, started plying after they were given police protection. Very few autorickshaws were seen moving about in the city.

Mr. Diwakar Babu, after being released from custody, thanked the people of the district for supporting the bandh. “Despite the suppressive measures adopted by the police, the people voluntarily shut their shops and business establishments. This clearly indicates their support,” he told presspersons.

While making it clear that the fight launched by the committee would continue until the Government dropped the proposal to acquire fertile land for construction of the airport, Mr. Diwakar Babu said, “We will continue our agitation and intensify it, if need be, if the Government goes ahead with its plans.”

The response to the bandh call was near total in Hadagali town, Kurgodu, Kampli town, Kudligi and Hagari Bommanahalli. It, however, evoked mixed response in Siruguppa, Sandur and Hospet towns.

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