Bandh call by Kannada outfits unlikely to affect life in Karnataka

Kannada organisations, led by Kannada Okkoota president Vatal Nagaraj, protest near Mysore Bank Circle in Bengaluru on Friday.  

The bandh called by Kannada organisations against the formation of the Maratha Development Corporation on Saturday is expected to elicit a mixed response, with normal life remaining largely unaffected.

Several key organisations like Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) led by T.A. Narayana Gowda, which initially opposed the bandh call, has only extended moral support. KRV, with the largest cadre base, has instructed its members not to participate in enforcing a bandh, but has planned a protest at the Chief Minister’s residence, sources said.

However, Vatal Nagaraj, president of the Kannada Okkoota, said several organisations have lent their support. He warned Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa against suppressing democratic protests through the police.

Meanwhile, the State government has been firm on not letting the bandh impact normal life.

Mr. Yediyurappa and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai have directed departments, including the police and transport, to foil the bandh call, sources said.

Bengaluru city Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said there will be deployment across the city and anyone trying to force a closure of any establishment or affecting normal life will be severely dealt with.

All forms of public transport will function normally, sources said. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) have decided to run services as usual. Namma Metro services will also operate as usual, sources in Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. said.

Cabs, auto services

However, cab and auto services may take a partial hit in the city on Saturday, as a section of cabs and auto unions have supported the bandh call and have decided to stay off roads.

Hotels and restaurants will remain open, said Chandrashekhar Hebbar, president, Karnataka Regional Hotels and Restaurants Federation. “We are yet to recover from the losses we suffered during the lockdown and cannot afford to support a bandh. We will function on Saturday across the State,” he said.

Malls may remain closed at least for the first half of Saturday.

“Malls are usually the soft targets for stoning and vandalism during such bandhs and protests. So, we will mostly remain closed in the first half and take a call whether to open or not by Saturday afternoon depending on the situation. Already reeling under losses due to the pandemic, we do not want to lose a weekend,” a mall owner, who did not wish to be named said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 10:23:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bandh-call-by-kannada-outfits-unlikely-to-affect-life-in-karnataka/article33253747.ece

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