BENGALURU: It was business as usual in the city despite a state bandh called by pro-Kannada organisations. Buses, autorickshaws and taxis were plying as usual. However, KSRTC stopped its operations in Kolar and Chikkaballapur divisions and Pavagala depot due to protests. Several Karnataka-bound Tamil Nadu vehicles, including TN’s State Express Transport Corporation were stopped at border areas like Hosur to prevent any untoward incident. It forced many passengers to hire taxis to their destinations.
Apart from activists blocking roads near Town Hall, Freedom Park and Anand Rao Circle, no other incidents were reported till evening. Schools, offices and commercial establishments were open. Additional police forces were also deployed.
A senior BMTC official said bus services in the city were not affected. “However, occupancy rate in buses was less on Monday morning. A few schedules on the city’s outskirts were cancelled after some staff failed to turned up for duty,” the official added.
Bid to lay siege to Soudha
Activist Vatal Nagaraj, Karnataka Film Chamber president Sa Ra Govindu and Karnataka Rakshana Vedike president Praveen Shetty marched towards Vidhana Souda and tried to lay siege.
Nagaraj later addressed the gathering at Town Hall, alleging that the police had arrested more than 2,000 Kannada activists. Police also issued notices to stop the bandh, he said, adding that the government is not bothered about the Mahadayi issue.
“Many private companies were shutting down and employees are suffering. The government has to waive off farmer loans. The protest will continue till we get justice,” Nagaraj said.
Bandh opposed with roses
A few activists standing near Sumnahalli junction on Magadi Road were holding banners and shouting slogans that they were not in support of the bandh. Some of them even gave roses to passersby to spread the message that there was no need to support the bandh.
Auto drivers fleece commuters
Many commuters complained that auto drivers were demanding double the fare. “Bandh was an excuse for most auto drivers to demand double the fare.
Most refused to ply short distances but police did not take action,” said K Vasanth Kumar, a commuter at Majestic station. However, auto drivers justified the overcharging.
“It is a risk to ply on a bandh day as there are chances of protesters targeting our vehicles. How will I bear the cost if something happens?” asked P Manjunath, an auto driver.
Police took preventive custody of a few activists fearing a repeat of Cauvery protests in 2016
Hotels, restaurants, malls, cinema halls, schools were open
Top cop warned of stern action against miscreants who forcefully closed business centres or retail outlets
Protesters tried to block highways on the outskirts of Bengaluru, were taken into custody
Business at KR Market was affected as farmers from nearby villages could not deliver vegetables due to unavailability of KSRTC buses in the morning
A senior police officer said, “We detained 70 activists
who tried to move towards Vidhana Souda from Sheshadri Road. We had asked them to protest in a particular area. No organisation was allowed to conduct a rally around the city. There was traffic jam for a while due to rain. A few activists were taken into preventive custody in Byatarayanapura, Magadi Road, Rajarajeshwarinagar, Laggere and Kengeri, where a major riot was reported during the 2016 Cauvery issue.