Mixed response to Ballari bandh call

Karnataka Jana Sena activists breaking coconuts as part of their special puja offered to presiding deity Kanaka Durgamma in Ballari on Thursday.  

The Ballari bandh call given by Akhanda Ballari Horata Samithi, a conglomerate of different Dalit and pro-Kannada organisations, to oppose the government’s decision to bifurcate Ballari district to form the Vijayanagara district received a mixed response from people on Thursday.

Though life went on as usual in a majority of areas in the city, a few localities, including Moti Circle, Gadagi Chennappa Circle and Bengaluru Road, saw good response as commercial establishments closed down for a few hours. Public transport system, including the city buses and autorickshaws, remained largely unaffected.

As the day began, activists belonging to different organisations gathered at the Gadagi Chennappa Circle holding banners and placards. They raised slogans against Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Forest Minister and Ballari in-charge B.S. Anand Singh who is seen as the main force behind the bifurcation of the district. They also burnt Mr. Yediyurappa and Mr. Anand Singh in effigies to give vent to their anger.

A few activists associated with Karnataka Jana Sena offered special puja to Kanaka Durgamma, the presiding deity of Ballari, and prayed to her to keep the district undivided.

As the crowd swelled by 10 a.m., the agitating activists formed a human chain at Gadagi Chennappa Circle blocking all roads connecting the traffic circle with the rest of the city. They cooked food at the traffic circle and ate it. The agitation disrupted traffic movement for some time.

Addressing the gathering at the agitation site, a few leaders recalled the formation of the district during the British rule and its inclusion in Karnataka during the unification movement. They condemned the State government and Mr. Anand Singh for what they said “playing with people’s sentiments”. They asserted that they will continue the struggle till the government dropped its decision to carve out Vijayanagara district from Ballari.

The agitating people then marched through the major roads in the city raising slogans in opposition to the division of the district. Kudtini Srinivas, Darur Purushottam Gowda, Pannaraj Sirigeri, Yariswamy, Chanal Shekhar, Sidmal Manjunath, Satya, Sanganakallu Krishnamurthy, A. Manayya, Minahalli Tayanna, Tapal Ganesh, Gangavathi Veeresh, Lingaraj, B.M. Patil, Sanganakallu Vijayakumar and other leaders representing different organisations were in the forefront of the agitation. A few leaders participated in the agitation riding on horses.

A few of them were found convincing traders of the need to shut down their shops and suspend their business activity for a day to support the bandh call for a cause. The shopkeepers in the areas where the protest procession passed through were found closing down their establishments for some time and later, continuing with their business.

The police had made elaborate arrangements across the city to ensure that the agitation went off peacefully. A heavy police force was deployed in key localities to avoid any untoward incident.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 7:30:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mixed-response-to-ballari-bandh-call/article33187574.ece

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