Bengaluru: With the support of over 175 groups, today’s Bengaluru Bandh, which began at 6 am and will last until 6 pm, has brought normal life in the State Capital to a grinding halt.
The bandh has been organised by the ‘Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samithi,’ a coalition of farmers’ associations and pro-Kannada organisations.
This protest is directed against the Congress Government in Karnataka, which has decided to comply with the directive from the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) to release 5,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu. Demonstrators are exerting pressure on the State Government to withhold water release.
As a precaution, the Bengaluru Urban District Administration has declared a holiday for all schools and colleges. Additionally, Bengaluru City Police have imposed 24-hour prohibitory orders to maintain law and order.
Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagraj and his associates including Praveen Shetty of Praveen Shetty faction of Kannada Rakshana Vedike were detained at Raj Bhavan when they went to stage a protest. Kannada Rakshana Vedike President Narayana Gowda and his aides were detained at Gandhinagar while they were marching towards CM’s residence.
Even farmers’ leader Kuruburu Shanthkumar was detained at Mysore Bank Circle.
Transport services affected
Auto drivers, as well as Transport Corporations like KSRTC and BMTC, have extended their support for the bandh, resulting in no buses or vehicles operating after 8 am, although a few buses did run on a couple of routes. Metro services remained unaffected by the bandh and continued to operate as usual, though passenger numbers were significantly lower.
At Freedom Park, numerous individuals, farmers and pro- Kannada groups gathered in large numbers to hold demonstrations and raise slogans. Senior BJP leader B.S. Yediyurappa also indicated his intention to join the protest at the Mysore Bank Circle.
Earlier today, the Police detained a group of 20 protestors in front of Town Hall who were shouting slogans and attempting to conduct a march. They were transported in a BMTC bus to CAR grounds.
At Freedom Park, a protesting farmer attempted to take his own life by hanging from a tree but was rescued and taken to a hospital. To maintain law and order and facilitate smooth traffic flow, heavy security has been deployed at Town Hall and Freedom Park, as well as strategic locations throughout the city.
As a preventive measure, the Police detained several individuals last night. Increased patrolling has been implemented on all major roads in the city and at entry and exit points to ensure the movement of vehicles.
IT employees work from home
Most IT companies, including giants like Google, Infosys, TCS, and Walmart, have instructed their employees to work from home. Domestic airlines such as IndiGo and Vistara have issued advisories for passengers travelling to the city. Security has also been heightened in the Krishnagiri district along the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border, causing disruptions in bus services from Karnataka to TN.
Operations at Kempegowda International Airport are running smoothly. Meanwhile, restaurants in the city are closed, and shopping malls, theatres, and multiplexes are shuttered. Essential services, including hospitals, nursing homes, medical shops, banks, and government offices, were open with skeletal staff.