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Bandh gets mixed response in Karnataka
Bangalore, May 31 2012, DHNS:
Fuelling rage: Weddings were held, but guests were absent
The Bharat Bandh called on Thursday by the NDA and the left parties protesting the recent hike in petrol price passed off peacefully across the State.
However, life was thrown out of gear in major cities such as Hubli, Dharwad, Udupi and Mangalore where bus services were withdrawn and minor incidents of stone-throwing and arson were reported.
In Mangalore, auto drivers had a field day. Weddings were held, but guests failed to turn up as buses stayed off the roads. CPM members stopped the Mangalore-Kabaka-Subrahmanya passenger train in the morning while the BJP workers took out a bicycle rally.
Members of Dakshina Kannada District Autorickshaw Drivers’ Association and Dakshina Kannada Autorickshaw Drivers’ Organisations’ Co-ordinating Committee submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Dr N S Channappa Gowda, demanding a revision of auto fare.
In Udupi, protesters blocked roads at Kaup and Yermal in Padubidri. However, the bandh received lukewarm response in the rest of the district. The CPM held a protest rally from Ambagilu bypass to Santekatte and BJP members staged a sit-in in front of the Clock Tower, raising slogans against the UPA government. By evening, both Mangalore and Udupi were peaceful and buses began to ply.
The usual buzz at the busy KR Circle was missing in Mysore. Shops, hotels, cinema halls and industries had downed the shutters in response to the bandh call.
It was brisk business for tongawallahs as both KSRTC and private operators had suspended the bus services while autorickshaws too remained off the roads.
The number of tourists to Amba Vilas Palace, Chamarajendra Zoological Garden and Chamundi Hills had also come down.
Barring a few incidents of stone-throwing and arson in Hubli and Dharwad, the bandh evoked mixed response in the rest of North Karnataka region.
In Dharwad, buses remained off the road till 5 pm and passengers to far-off places were stranded in the bus stops. Commercial establishments, schools and colleges remained closed.
In Hubli, protesters pelted six buses with stones, forcing the North-West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) to withdraw the services. Except pharmacies and hospitals, all business establishments downed the shutter.
BJP workers took out protest rallies across the city, set on fire a tyre at Channamma Circle and a two-wheeler at Durgadabail. They stopped two trains at the railway station.
The bandh in Belgaum town was peaceful, though public conveyance was cancelled and shops were closed. But in rural areas, including Khanapur, it was life as usual. The bandh was total in Chikodi, Raibag, Savadatti and Bailhongal while in Ramdurg, Hukkeri, Gokak and Athani it received a mixed response. No untoward incidents were reported in Shimoga, Davangere and Chitradurga districts.
The bandh fizzled out in Yadgir where shops and offices resumed work by afternoon.
Except Gurmitkal, the bandh evoked no response in Shahapur, Surapur, Hunasagi and Kembhavi. BJP workers forced shop owners to close the shutters by 11 am at Gurmitkal.
However, vendors on footpaths, autorickshaws and public transport were not affected.
Except Hospet and Hagaribommanahalli, the bandh did not disrupt normal life in other taluks in Bellary.
Members of the BJP district unit along with CPM, SUCI (C) and AIYF took out a bike rally in Bellary. The police arrested SUCI (C) leaders as a precautionary measure and released them later. Shops on Bangalore Road remained shut till evening.
In Raichur, various political parties staged protests, but the public in general were largely unaffected. Buses continued to ply and shops were open. However, only in Raichur city, passengers from far-off villages were stranded as the buses did not ply till afternoon.