BANGALORE: Traffic in and around Majestic area was thrown out of gear for more than one hour on Wednesday following a protest march by the activists of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Hasiru Sene demanding the State Government to waive agriculture loans in view of severe drought in the state.
The protesters, led by KRRS leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar and others, took out a protest rally from the City Railway Station to Freedom Park. As the farmers wearing the green shawls walked on the main roads of the city, the vehicular movement came to a grinding halt. The traffic police had a tough time diverting the traffic as thousands of vehicles were stranded on all sides.
As a precautionary measure, the police had banned vehicle movement towards the Freedom Park, the venue of the protest. Several office-goers were seen having arguments with the police for allowing the protest rally on the busy roads. However, the traffic became normal after the protesters reached the Freedom Park. Their efforts to march towards the Vidhana Soudha were thwarted by the police. Metal barricades were placed at all the entry points towards the Vidhana Soudha for this purpose. Addressing the gathering, Chandrashekar wanted the government to waive agriculture loan borrowed by farmers as more than 120 taluks of the total 176 taluks were drought-hit.
He urged Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda to make an announcement to this effect. The protesters demanded that Agriculture Minister S A Ravindranath should come to the venue to receive the memorandum and discuss their problems.
The farmers also cooked food at the Freedom Park and had it. At around 4 pm, when the farmers came to know that the Minister was not coming, they decided to lay siege to the Vidhana Soudha. The police swung into action and sought more forces as a precautionary measure. Several senior police officers also came to the spot and warned them of arrest. However, the farmers were in a defiant mood and dared them to arrest them.
On the receipt of information, Baburao Mudabi, Secretary, Department of Agriculture Department came to the spot, and received memorandum from the farmers. He promised to convey their feelings to the Minister . After a while, the police convinced farmers to call off their stir. The farmers warned of intensifying their agitation if the government failed to arrive at a suitable decision.