The bandh call given seeking the reinstallation of the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj which was removed by the district administration from a traffic circle in Bagalkot, received a good response with most of the business and commercial establishments remaining closed on Saturday.
However, most of the schools and colleges functioned normally and public transport was not affected. Initially most of the shops were open and functioned normally. But later as the protest march was about to begin, most of them downed their shutters.
The statue at Sonar Extension was removed on August 15 by the city municipal corporation and the district administration as it was installed without any permission.
Taking out a huge protest march, the leaders members of Hindu Jagaran Vedike and Bharatiya Janata Party, raised slogans against the district administration and the State government. They covered the thoroughfares of the city. Some of them tried to close down the vegetable market. Few protesters entered into an altercation with a vegetable vendor and the police intervened to resolve the issue.
Addressing the protesters, North Karnataka coordinator of Hindu Jagaran Vedike Shrikanth Hosakeri set August 25 as the deadline for reinstallation of the statue at the circle from where it was removed. Otherwise, the officials would be responsible for any untoward incident, he warned.
He asked the officials not to test the patience of the people of Bagalkot and alleged that the officials who removed the statue of the king who established Hindu society, had no knowledge of history. He also called on the people to have knowledge of wielding swords along with knowledge of ‘shastras’. Language of blood should be answered with blood only, he said.
Former MLA Viranna Charantimath, former MLC Narayan Bhandagi and several others took part in the protest.
As a precautionary measure, the police had deployed a huge number of personnel at strategic points. Meanwhile, BJP and Congress leaders took to social media platforms to make allegations and counter allegations.