Karnataka shuts down for Mahadayi

Karnataka shuts down for Mahadayi

Karnataka shuts down for Mahadayi

 The dawn to dusk Karnataka bandh call given by pro-Kannada organisations to protest against the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal order evoked mixed response across the state.

The bandh was by and large peaceful with stray incidents of violence and stone pelting being reported from some parts of the state. The bandh was total in Dharwad, Gadag and Belagavi, the districts which were to benefit from the Kalasa Banduri drinking water project for which the state had sought permission to utilise 7.56  tmcft water from the Mahadayi river. The state’s plea was rejected by the Tribunal, resulting in public anger.

The bandh also received good response in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya, Chamarajanagar, Hassan, Bagalkot and Haveri districts with most business establishments, markets, cinema halls, malls and petrol bunks remaining shut and government offices registering thin attendance.

Schools and colleges remained closed. Buses of state road transport corporations kept off the roads as a precautionary measure. Private buses, autorickshaws and taxis also remained off the roads for major part of the day. Passengers being stranded at bus and railway stations was a common sight.

In Bengaluru City, shops and markets remained closed  while medical stores, hospitals and private clinics were open. The usually traffic-choked streets wore a deserted look. Cinema halls, restaurants and malls remained shut till 6 pm. Representatives of pro-Kannada organisations took out a  rally from Town Hall to Freedom Park demanding Karnataka’s due share of Mahadayi water. The Kannada film industry extended its support to the bandh. Kannada actors Shivaraj Kumar, Yash and several film industry personalities participated in the protest rally.

In Belagavi, pro-Kannada activists attempted to lay siege to the residence of Parliament member Suresh Angadi, accusing him inadequate efforts in getting the Mahadayi water dispute resolved. Police resorted to caning when some activists attempted to cross the barricades and gain entry into Angadi’s residence.

In Hubballi, MLAs Prasad Abbayya, C S Shivalli and other Congress leaders were taken into custody for trying to lay siege to the Hubballi railway station. Anger erupted against reported police excesses on farmers protesting against the Tribunal order in Yamanur and Alagavadi villages in Dharwad district on Friday night.

The bandh evoked mixed response in Ballari, Uttara Kannada and Koppal. However, normal life remained unaffected in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Bidar and Yadgir as the response was poor. Educational institutions, government offices, shops and hotels remained open. Buses, trains, autorickshaws and taxis operated as usual.