Karnataka bandh evokes lukewarm response
In a major setback to Kannada leaders, including former MLA and president of Kannada Okkoota, Vatal Nagaraj, the dawn-to-dusk bandh on Saturday evoked a lukewarm response.
Bengaluru: In a major setback to Kannada leaders, including former MLA and president of Kannada Okkoota, Vatal Nagaraj, the dawn-to-dusk bandh on Saturday evoked a lukewarm response. It's for the first time in recent years that a bandh called by Kannada groups failed to evoke good response. The bandh called by pro-Kannada groups, opposing creation of Maratha Development Authority with Rs 50 crore fund by the B S Yediyurappa government.
According to the police sources, a few incidents of miscreants pelting buses with stones were reported in places like KR Puram and Chandapura in the city. Many shops at Gandhinagar and Chickpet area remained shut to support the bandh. Nagaraj and other leaders on Friday night tried hard to win support for the bandh and appealed to all organisations, including transport unions, auto unions, hotel owners' association and labor unions. But normal life remained unaffected in most parts of the city.
Nagara and his associates announced that a mega-rally would be taken from Town Hall to Freedom Park. But with only a few activists turning up their plan proved a damp squib. Police detained over a hundred protesters from Kannada organisations who started gathering at Town Hall by 10 am.
The police also detained Narayana Gowda, president of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, and other members of the organisation. They were detained at Maurya Circle while he along with protesters headed towards the CM's residence.
Vatal Nagaraj, president of the Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, was also detained at Town Hall as he came to lead the protest. He accused Yediyurappa of adopting anti-Kannada policies and using force to quell the protest. He claimed the police detained around 30,000 protesters across the State to foil the protest.
The band elsewhere in the State also received poor response as Bombay Karnataka region (Belagavi, Chikkodi, Dharwad, Haveri, Bagalkot, Vijayapura), Hubballi, Yadgir and Raichur remained normal. Buses ran normally and shops and commercial establishments functioned as usual. In most of the places, the agitation. At several places the police made preventive arrests.
In Dharwad, protestors were taken into custody at Jubilee Circle when they tried to block the road. In Gadag, protestors were prevented from closing down shops forcibly. At Mulagund Naka in Gadag, protestors were stopped and taken into custody when they tried to stop buses.
Meanwhile, despite police efforts to prevent them, the protestors managed to burn effigy of former Union minister Basanagouda Patil Yatnal for his alleged derogatory statement against Kannada organisations.