Rallies, protests choke City

Rallies, protests choke City

Vehicle users in the core Bangalore areas had to endure several hours of traffic jams throughout the day on Friday, as several organisations took out rallies protesting the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

The trouble started at 10 am when thousands of activists from different parts of the City and other districts started gathering at the Basavanagudi National College Grounds for the rally spearheaded by Karnataka Rakshana Vedike.

When the rally moved out of the grounds at around 11 am, traffic police had a tough time clearing the route for the rally.

The protesters passed through Sajjan Rao Circle in VV Puram, Minerva Circle, JC Road, Town Hall, Corporation Circle and Mysore Bank Circle before reaching the Freedom Park at 3 pm, bringing traffic on these roads to a standstill. Many vehicle users were either stuck or had to move at a snail’s pace.

Activists in cars and astride motorbikes refused to give way to other motorists till the rally passed, prompting the traffic police to divert vehicles through the neighbouring areas.

“I was late to work by two hours due to the rally. No prior information about it was given either by the police or by the media,” alleged Giridhar N, a bank employee.
Even bus services along the rally route were affected. “The bus I took from KR Market got stuck at the Town Hall Circle for 45 minutes,” said Nirupama K, a private company employee.

There were gridlocks on the Anand Rao Circle flyover and areas in Majestic through the day as other organisations, including Kannada Okkuta of Vatal Nagaraj, staged protests. Even the dharna staged by a team of BJP legislators led by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa near the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Mourya Hotel held up traffic for an hour. A team of Janata Dal (Secular) workers led a jatha from Hebbal to the City resulting in another round of traffic jam in the area.

Mysore Road, Rajajinagar, Hosur Road and Magadi Road were also affected.
Several religious leaders, Kannada film actors and members of pro-Kannada organisations took part in the rally. They said the State was facing worst drought in 40 years and demanded the intervention of the governor in the row.

T A Narayana Gowda, the head of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, said people of the Cauvery basin were fighting for water for the past 23 days and it was not proper on the part of Bangaloreans to sit at home. He urged the City residents to actively take part in the stir.

Stray incidents of violence were reported in Majestic and BMTC Satellite Bus Stand in Kengeri. About three buses were damaged as miscreants threw stones at them in Kengeri while there were reports of people throwing stones at bars and restaurants in the Majestic area.

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