More support poured in for the Bengaluru bandh called by the Karnataka Jala Samrkashana Samiti on September 26, with several organisations announcing their decision to back it after a meeting on Sunday.
The bandh is expected to disrupt life in the city on Tuesday, even as a faction of activists, led by Vatal Nagaraj, have called for a Statewide bandh on September 29.
It was earlier decided that the protest rally would commence from Town Hall at 11 a.m. and culminate at Mysore Bank circle, following police instructions, but now members are thinking about ending the rally at Freedom Park. The decision is expected to be made on Monday.
While the Karnataka Associated Management of Schools (KAMS) had said that it was left to the discretion of the schools to declare a holiday on Tuesday, the Recognised Unaided Private School Association (RUPSA) announced on Sunday that all private schools coming under the association would be closed on the bandh day.
Lokesh Talikote, president, RUPSA, said that students who would be writing examinations on the day would sport a black ribbon to extend their support to the bandh.
Members of IT Kannadigara Balaga, a group of more than 3,500 IT employees, will take out a bike rally on Tuesday and will not go to work in support of the bandh, said Shivanand, president of the association.
On the other hand, the Outer Ring Road Companies’ Association said that it would encourage the member-companies to evaluate the situation, considering potential business implications and make decisions accordingly.
While a section of autorickshaw drivers has declared complete support to the bandh and decided to keep vehicles off the road, T. M. Rudramurthy, general secretary, Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union (ARDU), said that a decision was yet to be made. “As we were off the road on September 11 too, it might not be possible to remain off the road for another day. However, our moral support is guaranteed for the cause. We will decide by Monday,” he said.
Leaders of the Karnataka Television Artists’ Association, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike Swabhimani Balaga, Karnataka Karmikara Parishat, Jaya Karnataka, Karnataka Christians’ Association, and Goods Vehicles Drivers and Owners’ Association also declared support for Bengaluru bandh at a press conference on Sunday.
Airport commute may take hit
With BMTC and KSRTC employees declaring complete support for the bandh, public transport in the city, including airport services, is likely to take a hit on Tuesday.
Chandrashekhar, leader of Karnataka State Road Transport Employees’ League, said: “As the bandh is from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., airport services during those hours will be affected. But post 6 p.m., there will not be any inconvenience to passengers.”
A source in the Transport Department confirmed that all bus services and airport bus services would be hit on the day of bandh.
With taxi drivers also extending support to the bandh call, those going to the airport on Tuesday would have to entirely rely on their own vehicles.
Karnataka bandh call
Meanwhile, speaking to presspersons in Bengaluru, Mr. Nagaraj said: “This is not about one district but the whole State. That is why we have called for a Karnataka bandh which will be held under the leadership of Kannada Okkoota. All pro-Kannada outfits should extend their support to that bandh. While the leadership has decided to call for bandh on September 29, the final decision will be made after a meeting on Monday. As for those calling for Bengaluru bandh, I will neither ask them to do it nor tell them to not do it.”
When asked about it, Kurubur Shanthakumar, farmers’ leader who has given the Bengaluru bandh call, said: “We are very happy with the overwhelming support we have received for our bandh call. It is already late, and we do not want to wait till September 29. A delegation of some five members from our side will attend the meeting called by Mr. Nagaraj on Monday and try to convince him to extend support to our call. The decision is left to him.”