The Bengaluru bandh call given by a coalition of farmers and Kannada organisations under the aegis of Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti will in likelihood bring the city to a halt on September 26, Tuesday.
With opposition parties announcing support for the bandh call and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah saying the government would not try to scuttle any protests in a democracy, indications are that the bandh will likely be total.
Within hours of the bandh call being given, several organisations, including public and private transport unions, private school managements, film industry and hotels and restaurants associations, announced their support.
Transport to be impacted
The KSRTC Staff and Workers Federation, which includes Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation employees, also has supported the bandh call and has urged BMTC crew to abstain from operating bus services from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday at all depots. However, BMTC officials maintained that services will not be affected.
Meanwhile, people who rely on cabs for their daily commute may face disruptions, as the taxi unions in Bengaluru have chosen to endorse the Bengaluru Bandh on Tuesday.
“We consistently stand in solidarity with issues concerning our water, language, and culture. Consequently, we have chosen to participate in the bandh on Tuesday. All cab drivers will refrain from working on that day to show our support for our farmers,” said Tanveer Pasha, the president of Ola, Uber Drivers and Owners’ Association in Bengaluru.
The Auto Rickshaw Drivers’ Union of Bengaluru is currently undecided about supporting the bandh. General Secretary T.M. Rudramurthy said, “We have not made a decision on supporting the bandh yet. We will consult with our members before reaching a conclusion.”
Schools declare support
The private school managements have extended their “moral support” for the bandh on Tuesday but haven’t declared a holiday for schools. “All our teaching and non-teaching staff will participate in the protest with a black band on their arms. However, as there are exams scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, we are not taking a decision to declare Tuesday a holiday. Each school can decide on a holiday depending on the situation,” Shashikumar. D., General Secretary of ‘Associated Managements of Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) said.
Restaurants, film industry
The Kannada film industry has also announced full support for Tuesday’s bandh call and film theatres in the city will likely close for the day. P. C. Rao,Vice President, Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association, said they had extended moral support for the bandh, but said eateries are considered an essential service and so will work on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, farmers leader Kuruburu Shanthakumar, who announced the bandh call on Saturday, appealed to the private sector companies and IT BT firms to extend their support and shut down for a day.
The city police have stepped up security in and around the city. In his directions to all the divisional heads, B. Dayananda directed to step up patrolling in the sensitive areas, especially where there is a higher Tamil-speaking population, and to heighten security measures on state highways, national highways and major roads, especially those connecting the neighbouring Tamil Nadu.