Mysore/Mysuru: The ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by various farmer organisations and trade unions urging the Union Government to repeal three farm laws has evoked mixed response in city this morning. While shops and business establishments in Central Business District (CBD) were closed till 12 noon, life was normal in extension areas.
However, the bandh passed off peacefully without any untoward incident, said a senior Police Officer. The Police had made elaborate security arrangements across the city by deploying additional Police force as a precautionary measure.
Since morning, farmers and trade union activists went around the main business areas of the city like K.R. Circle, D. Devaraja Urs Road, Ashoka Road, Gandhi Square, Makkaji Chowk and adjoining places appealing shopkeepers to extend their co-operation by closing down their business till 12 noon.
The splinter groups of agitators went on two-wheelers forcing the shopkeepers to down the shutters at least for some time. Farmers and trade union activists led by Hosakote Basavaraj and P. Mallesh marched on Ashoka Road and Devaraja Urs Road seeking closure of shops.
Around 7 am, a group of farmers staged dharna in front of the exit point of Sub-Urban Bus Stand which hit the KSRTC bus service to other cities for a few hours. The agitators raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Government for its anti-farmer policies.
While the city buses, autorickshaws and cabs were plying normally in extension areas, the same was not seen in CBD area due to protest rallies. Trucks were off the roads and APMC at Bandipalya and RMC were shut. Several shops which were opened inside Devaraja Market too were closed forcibly by farmers. Hotels, cinema halls and marriage halls were opened across the city.
The activists gathered at Dufferin Clock Tower from where they marched up to the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.
Addressing the gathering, Devanur Mahadev, a noted Kannada littérateur, slammed the BJP-led NDA Government for its anti-farmer laws despite knowing the fact that agriculture was the State subject. Unfortunately, no State had the guts to question Modi for transgressing its power. The Government of India was virtually controlling all the States after the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST). In post-GST era, the States were at the mercy of the Union Government, he added.
He also took the Central Government to task for using force such as lathis, teargas, water cannons and digging up roads to prevent farmers from reaching New Delhi. It was unbecoming on the part of the PM to deal in such a way with farmers. Instead of taking farmers into confidence, Modi was in confrontation with them which was not a good sign. The people would give a fitting reply to Modi in the coming elections, he added.
The protest was led by Hosakote Basavaraj, Prasanna Gowda, Ugranarasimha Gowda, Chandrashekar Meti, H.R.Seshadri and others.
Meanwhile, members of Samuhika Nayakathwa Raitha Sangha and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took out a protest rally from Gun House Circle up to the DC’s office. The rally was led by AAP District President Malavika Gubbivani and Samuhika Raitha Sangha District President Vidyasagar D. Ramegowda.
The Congress activists, led by K.S.Shivaram, President, Karnataka State Backward Classes Welfare Forum, burnt tyres on Ooty Road. Hundreds of vehicles were lined up on both the directions.
In Bengaluru, various organisations took out a protest rally near Town Hall and Freedom Park. KPCC President D.K. Shivakumar, Karnataka Sugarcane Growers Association President Kurubur Shanthakumar, Raitha Sangha President Kodihalli Chandrashekar and others led the protest. The Police had placed barricades near Freedom Park to prevent the agitators from going towards Vidhana Soudha since the joint session of the State Legislature was going on.