Stage set for statue unveiling

Stage set for statue unveiling

Security blanket around venue; govt set to thwart bundh

UNDER WRAPS: Police guard the Thiruvalluvar statue on the eve of its unveiling at Ulsoor in Bangalore on Saturday. DH Photo

Despite protests by a section of Kannada activists and sporadic violence on Saturday, the two states are determined to go ahead with the inauguration of the statue by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and his Tamil Nadu counterpart M Karunanidhi.

Karunanidhi will press a remote-controlled button to unveil the statue from the nearby RBANMS Grounds.

The City police have readied a virtual khakhi fort around the statue. Thousands of people are expected to converge on the venue to witness the event. As a preventive measure, the police have rounded up leaders of several Kannada outfits. Those who have been arrested include Vatal Nagaraj of the Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, T A Narayana Gowda of the Kannada Rakshana Vedike (KRV) and Praveen Shetty of the Shetty faction of KRV. Despite the bundh called by Kannada organisations, the authorities hope to run the public transport services. State-owned Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation have not made any changes in their schedules, though officials admit, that in the event of any violence, the services could be affected.

“Services within the State and to Tamil Nadu are normal. We are in constant touch with the police. We will ply buses on normal operations,” said officials from the transport corporations. Autorickshaw and taxi services to the Bengaluru International Airport will also be normal according to auto unions in the City. A spokesman of Meru Cabs and Easy Cabs to the BIA said they have not received any instructions from the traffic police to stop their services.

Meanwhile, the location of the statue at the Neelakantan Circle and the RBANMS Grounds have been completely secured.

The security ring has 16 police officers of the rank of DCP, 65 ACPs, 200 plus inspectors, 500 sub-inspectors and over 1,200 constables. Bomb detection squads, dog squads, 35 Karnataka State Reserve Police platoons, 800 home guards, 40 City Armed Reserve companies and fire tenders are already in active mode.

To avoid traffic chaos, stringent parking restrictions will be in force around the RBANMS Grounds from 6 am to 6 pm.

Striking a cordial note, Yeddyurappa appealed to pro-Kannada organisations to cooperate with the government for the smooth conduct of the ceremony. He urged them to attend the event, keeping aside their differences over the issue.

The statue, he asserted, would help improve relations between the two states.

However, he said the government would not tolerate any move to disturb peace.
Although Yeddyurappa will preside over the function, neither he nor Karunanidhi will make any political speeches in view of the Election Commission’s directives.

The model code of conduct is in force as the byelection to the Govindarajanagar Assembly constituency is nearing.

Cultural fest
Singer Upasana Mohan and his team will present a programme to mark the occasion. A three-day cultural and literary programme organised by the Bangalore Tamil Sangham will follow.

The Chennai-based Ramji group will recite excerpts from Tiruvalluvar’s Thirukkural on Sunday, while former Kanyakumari MP, Kumari Anandan, will deliver a lecture on Tiruvalluvar.In sporadic incidents of violence, at least two Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses were burnt at Kothanur in the City on Saturday.

Incidents of stone-throwing were reported from Mysore Road, Tumkur Road, Kothanur Dinne, Goraguntepalya and International Airport Road. However, no one was injured.
High drama was witnessed at the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Mysore on Saturday, when two activists of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (Praveen Kumar Shetty faction) climbed atop the DC’s office building and threatened to jump from the terrace if the State government went ahead with the installation of the Tiruvalluvar statue in Bangalore.