Farmers and organisations supporting them held protests on Wednesday and staged rallies against the Karnataka Land Reforms (Second Amendment) Bill that seeks to remove restrictions on the purchase of agricultural land. The Bill was passed in the Legislative Council on Tuesday amid protests.
Kodihalli Chandrashekar, president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, warned that the protests would continue on Thursday with more farmers joining in. Karnataka Rakshana Vedike members marched from Town Hall and tried to reach the Raj Bhavan to submit a memorandum to the Governor, but were stopped at K.R. Circle. A small delegation was allowed entry.
Stopped on the way
Meanwhile, thousands of protesters — wearing green shawls and holding whips — marched from Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna railway station to Freedom Park and then attempted to move towards the Vidhana Soudha. However, police personnel were deployed to prevent them from laying siege to the Vidhana Soudha and they were sent back to Freedom Park.
Farmers’ leaders vented their ire against the government, shouted slogans, and tried to burn an effigy. They expressed anger against the BJP government in Karnataka, the JD(S) which supported the Bill in the Council, as well as the Union government that has passed farm laws leading to nationwide protests.
In an attempt to control the crowds, the police initially stopped farmers coming from the outskirts of the city at Rani Circle in Devanahalli. However, as the situation became tense, farmers were allowed entry with a police escort. “We escorted them into the city to ensure that there were no untoward incident,” said a senior police official.
Traffic movement in and around Majestic area was disrupted for over two hours in the morning. As the rally swelled, vehicular movement came to a crawl at Anand Rao Circle flyover and Racecourse road till afternoon. Two ambulances had to be diverted.