Bustling Bengaluru brought to a halt

A spell of rain dampened the spirit of the protesters in the afternoon.

Published: 31st July 2016 06:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st July 2016 06:37 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: The bandh called by pro-Kannada and farmers’ organisations against the interim order of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal was largely successful and peaceful, except for a mild lathicharge incident by security personnel at Gandhinagar in the city. The intervention of Sandalwood stars, led by actor Shivaraj Kumar, added colour to bandh called to express solidarity with the people of North Karnataka.

People who had suffered due to lack of public transport for three days due to the strike by employees of state run transport corporations, stayed indoors as both BMTC and Metro services did not run.

There were hardly any autorickshaws plying on city roads while app-based taxi aggregators had limited services.Ravi Gowda, an auto driver, said, “I did not want to take a risk and started plying only from 4 pm. If any protesters had pelted stones at by vehicle and broken the glass, I would have to shell out at least `3,000 for repairs.” 

Bustli.JPGCommercial establishments like malls, multiplexes, theatres, petrol bunks, hotels, liquor shops were shut from the morning, hitting businesses. “I could not earn even 25 per cent of my regular earnings today,” said Krishna, a tea vendor near Vidhana Soudha.” Sourav Kumar, who had to push his vehicle for nearly 2km to a petrol bunk, said, “I hope petrol bunks open soon.”

Less than 50 per cent of the staff were found in government offices at Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha and M S Building. BBMP’s council meeting was cancelled due to stiff opposition from protesters. 

Bustling Bengaluru.jpgThe busy roads in the central business district wore a deserted look in the morning. Later, some vehicles were seen plying on these roads. There was no vehicular movement in the heart of the city as members of pro-Kannada organisations, along with Sandalwood stars, took out a mammoth rally from Town Hall to Freedom Park via Kempegowda Road and Seshadri Road.

Though the rally was peaceful except for slogans-shouting against the state and central governments, a few miscreants pelted stones at an ATM in Gandhi Nagar. The situation was brought under control after actor Shivarajkumar appealed to the protesters to not indulge in illegal activities. A spell of rain dampened the spirit of the protesters in the afternoon.

The two factions of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike took an active role in the bandh and forced BMRCL to stop Metro services by staging a protest at Majestic station. Activists of the KRV faction headed by Narayana Gowda, staged a dharna at city railway station and tried to barge into Kempegowda International Airport.

Another faction, led by Praveen Shetty, took out a procession of effigies of MPs representing Karnataka, including B S Yeddyurappa, accusing them of failing to protect the interests of the state on the issue.

Later, they burnt the effigies at Mysore Bank Circle. The women’s wing of the Narayana Gowda faction of KRV tried to lay seige to Raj Bhavan in the morning. But they were unable to stop Governor Vajubhai Vala from going out of Raj Bhavan at 9.10 am. Activists of Jaya Karnataka raised slogans and stopped autorickshaws and cabs in Subashnagar area (Majestic) from plying. They took out a bike rally from Nagawara to Hebbal.

Reports of police attacking women by barging into their houses in Yamanur of Dharwad district added fuel to fire and it led to intensified protests. However, timely intervention of police averted any untoward incidents. Police detained as many as 1,500 protesters, including women activists.

Emergency services like hospitals and medical shops were unaffected. But there was a fall in the number of outpatients in hospitals. Vegetable shops remained opened and supply of milk and newspapers was unaffected.

Some people had even prepared to help out people in need of medical help in JP Nagar and BTM Layout. Shiraj Ali from JP Nagar said, “I had filled petrol in my vehicle on Friday night itself to lend a hand if there was a crisis in my neighbourhood. Fortunately, there were no such emergencies.”


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