Bandh in Bengaluru against Cauvery water release to Tamil Nadu affects normal life

Farmers' leaders and Kannada activists hit out at the government for allegedly using police force to curtail the protests and bandh.
FILE PHOTO | Pro-Kannada activists during a protest against the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu. (PTI)
FILE PHOTO | Pro-Kannada activists during a protest against the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu. (PTI)

BENGALURU: The Bengaluru bandh called by farmers and Kannada organisations on Tuesday and backed by the BJP and JD(S) in protest against the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu evoked partial response, with most of the public services functioning normally, but fewer people venturing out.

'Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti,' an umbrella outfit of farmers' associations and other organisations led by farmer leader Kuruburu Shanthakumar, has given the call for today's dawn-to-dusk (6 am to 6 pm) Bengaluru shutdown.

Shanthakumar and other leaders of the 'Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti were detained by the police at the Mysuru Bank circle, as they were trying to hold a protest march towards Town Hall.

Several activists of Kannada organisations were also whisked away by the police at Town Hall, as they gathered there to stage a protest.

Farmers' leaders and Kannada activists hit out at the government for allegedly using police force to curtail the protests and bandh.

Farmers and pro-Kannada organisations are likely to stage a protest at the Freedom Park, which is a designated place for such demonstrations.

City police have taken adequate security measures to respond to any violence that may happen during the protests.

About 100 platoons have been deployed.

Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda said that prohibitory orders under Section 144 are in place across the city from midnight on Monday to midnight on Tuesday in the wake of the bandh.

Also, according to existing restrictions and court orders, there is no permission for any bandh or procession in the city, he said, "No one can forcefully implement the bandh by using force, other than in cases where someone wants to observe it voluntarily."

Meanwhile, a Karnataka bandh, a state-wide shutdown, has been called, on September 29 by 'Kannada Okkuta', an umbrella organisation for Kannada organisations, led by Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj.

They are not supporting today's bandh.

Bengaluru Urban district Deputy Commissioner Dayananda K A has declared a holiday for all schools and colleges in the city on Tuesday, in view of the bandh.

Though cab services, autos and hotels/ restaurants were seen operating, drivers and hotel operators said not many people were coming out to utilise the services.

Similar is the case with Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses and Metro rail services, as the usual rush was not seen at bus and metro stations.

Ola-Uber Drivers' Association and Hotel Owners' Association have said that their services will be normal today.

They have extended support for the September 29 Karnataka bandh called by pro-Kannada organisations, stating that in the midst of financial difficulties, they cannot afford to lose two days of work.

Most private companies and firms, including those in the IT sector, asked their employees to work from home.

Some malls in the city have decided to remain shut.

Many shops and establishments were also seen not functioning as usual in the morning hours.

The opposition BJP and JD(S) which have been targeting the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government of failing the state by releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, have supported today's bandh, and have announced that they will take part in the agitation.

With protests intensifying, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Monday had said the government will not curtail them but underlined the importance of maintaining peace.

Protests have continued in various parts of Karnataka, following the Supreme Court's refusal to interfere with orders of the Cauvery Water Management Authority and Regulation Committee, directing the state to release 5,000 cusecs of water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Farmers organisations and pro-Kannada outfits have been staging protests in Cauvery river basin districts Mysuru, Mandya, Chamarajanagara, Ramanagara, Bengaluru and other parts expressing their anger and urging the state government not to release water to the neighbouring state.

Karnataka has been maintaining that it is not in a position to release water, taking into account its own need for drinking water and irrigation for standing crops in the Cauvery basin areas, as there has been water scarcity due to deficit monsoon rains.

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