Karnataka

No let-up in Karnataka violence

Tyres were burnt on the roads at Belagavi by activists protesting against the interim verdict by the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal, on Thursday. Photo: P.K. Badiger  

Protests erupted across Karnataka against the rejection of the state’s interim plea by the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal, on Thursday.

Several north Karnataka cities, including Hubballi, Dharwad, Gadag and Belagavi witnessed violent protests by farmers and pro-Kannada organisations. Normal life has been affected in these districts and movement of vehicles has almost come to a standstill.

Hubballi-Dharwad, Gadag:

Almost all major roads have been blocked by the protestors. Tyres were burnt at almost all the major traffic junctions in the twin cities. Two stone pelting incidents have also been reported from the Hubballi bypass, in which a truck and an autorickshaw were damaged.

National Highway 218 between Hubballi and Dharwad has been entirely blocked. Thorny bushes and bullock carts have been parked on the road by the local communities of the villages along the highway to prevent vehicular movement. The movement of even two-wheelers is being prevented by the protestors affiliated to various pro-Kannada organisations.

Over 10 protestors taken to custody after a group of protestors tried to lay seize to Hubballi railway station.

The police fired tear gas shells at Navalgund bus depot to disperse the angry mob. Earlier, they fired rubber bullets in the air to disperse mob, which tried to barge into the bus depot. Stones were pelted at banks and BSNL office at Navalgund.

At Dharwad, several farmers and pro-Kannada organisations held protest demonstrations, even as the city wore a deserted look. All business establishments and government offices remained closed. The protestors burnt the tyres and effigies of several politicians of both centre and state. They vented their ire against the political parties for not properly responding to the farmers' sentiments.

The police resorted to mild caning at the vegetable market, following an altercation between the protestors and vendors. While the protestors tried to prevent the vendors from selling vegetables, the vendors expressed anguish saying they had already incurred huge losses owing to the NWKRTC strike over the past three days. The police had to resort to mild caning to disperse the mob at the market.

A group of protestors also pelted stones at the District Health Office and All India Radio building in Dharwad.

At Gadag, the protestors tried to ransack a post office. However, the police, who were deployed in huge numbers, prevented it.

Belagavi:

Bus services from Belagavi city to Hubballi, Dharwad, Bailhongal, Saundatti, Ramdurg have been suspended. Attendance of students in the various educational institutions was almost nil. A few commercial establishments were functioning as usual.

The Rani Channamma Circle in the city had become a rallying point for protest by various organisations. Leaders of various farmers' associations held a meeting at Kannada Sahitya Bhavan near Rani Channamma circle in the city to chalk out a concrete strategy towards launching an intensified agitation to pressure both centre and state governments for early solution on Mahadayi water sharing dispute.

The leaders discussed various options before them, including filling a PIL before the Supreme Court, blocking vegetable supplies to Goa, rasta roko agitation on national highways and rail roko at railway stations, picketing residences of MPs, particularly those from BJP.

Meanwhile, protestors burnt the effigy of BJP MP Suresh C. Angadi, MP (BJP) at the circle, even as various organisations continued to protest in support of the agitating farmers.

Former union minister Babagouda Patil led a rasta roko agitation on Pune-Bengaluru NH4 near Kittur (between Belagavi and Hubballi-Dharwad) and demanded that the Mahadayi row be solved at the earliest.

Ballari:

Members of district unit of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene staged a demonstration at Gadagi Chennappa circle in the city to protest against “injustice meted out to State” by the tribunal. Farmers, led by Darur Purushottam Gouda, submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Siddaramiah to take a delegation to Prime Minister to urge him to intervene.

Meanwhile, Santosh Lad, Minister for Labour and district in-charge, said that the decision of the tribunal was a setback to the State.

Mandya, Ramanagaram:

Members of various factions of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) also staged protests on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway at different places between Srirangapatna and Ramanagaram on Thursday. Traffic was affected following series of protests.

According to the police sources, farmers and Kannada activists also staged such roadblock protests on the Bidar-Srirangapatna highway, Mandya-Malavalli main road, Ramanagaram-Magadi main road, Maddur-Kollegal main road and K.R.Pet-Mysuru main road.

No untoward incidents were reported.

Bengaluru:

The Central Business District (CBD) in the city was choked, following protests by various organisations. Demanding the state government to challenge the interim order, several organisations staged protests at Mysore Bank Circle. They also burnt the effigies of various politicians for failing to solve the problem. They also rolled on the road and raised slogans against the centre and state governments.

To monitor law and order, heavy police bandobast was in place in the city. The traffic police struggled to divert the vehicular movement as thousands of motorists were caught in the jam.

Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (Praveen Shetty) took out a procession from Mekhri Circle, raising slogans against the union government and state government opposing the interim order by the tribunal. This resulted in chaos and traffic jams on the arterial International Airport Road.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 9:36:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/No-let-up-in-Karnataka-violence/article14517053.ece

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