Bandh almost total in Hubballi

Bandh almost total in Hubballi

A typical 'Kalasa-Banduri bandh' returned to the Hubballi city after a long gap, when an almost total bandh was observed here on Wednesday.

Though the heterogeneous nature of Mahadayi agitation was once again evident, the busy Chennamma Circle became the epicentre of protests, that demanded prime minister's intervention to resolve this vexed interstate dispute over Mahadayi water sharing, and blamed the politicians for not fulfilling the long-pending demand to get Mahadayi water to meet drinking water needs in the region.

All business at the central commercial district came to a standstill, as all commercial establishments and market places remained closed. Cinema halls and petrol pumps were also closed. The bandh call received impressive response from various organisations, and it was peaceful too, except incidents like breaking a window glass pane of MP Pralhad Joshi's office, protesters slitting their hands with blade near the railway station, ransacking a hotel, and closing a few banks.

Bus movement was suspended, schools and colleges, petrol bunks, cinema theaters remained closed, liquor sale was also banned, while heavy police bundobust was arranged. Vehicular movement was very less, while government offices and banks worked with half-closed doors, with less staff, and no visitors.

Several autorickshaws were seen moving, and they charged heavy fare for passengers. Some shops were open in extension and residential areas. Hospitals and medical shops were functioning as usual, but the number of visitors was very less.

Inconvenience

As bus services were suspended, the bus stands wore a deserted look. But, those who came by train and those who had to catch a train experienced serious inconvenience.

With heavy baggages, some persons were seen walking towards the railway station. Earlier in the morning, the protesters stopped some heavy vehicles also, and deflated the tyres of several autorickshaws.

Since morning, members of various organisations took out protest rallies including bike rallies from different areas, staged rasta rokos, burnt tyres at different places, and gathered at Chennamma Circle.

Protests were also staged at Hosur Circle, Sangolli Rayanna Circle, Court Circle, and in front of LIC office, railway station, and office and residence of MP Pralhad Joshi. The protesters also staged a protest at the toll gate near Gabbur Cross and stopped the movement on the busy by-pass road.

At KC Circle

Pro-Kannada and pro-labour organisations, Mahadayi agitation committees, and other organisations that took part in Wednesday's bandh, staged protest at Chennamma Circle, where hundreds of people had gathared.

Slogans were raised, bhajans were sung, empty pots were displayed, tyres and effigies were burnt, speeches were delivered, and rallies were taken out.

MLC Basavaraj Horatti, Navalgund MLA N H Konaraddi, veteran journalist Patil Puttappa, Zilla Panchayat Vice-President Shivanand Karigar, Karnatak Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) President V P Linagagoudar, were among those who visited the circle and expressed support to the agitation.

Malaprabha Mahadayi Kalasa-Banduri Raith Horata Okkuta, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Jaya Karnataka, Karnataka Sangrama Sene, Hubballi Autorikshaw Drivers' & Owners' Association, Laxman Hirekeur Auto Drivers' Association, Pakshateeta Raitha Horata Samiti, AITUC, SDPI, Shriram Sene, JD(U), Padmavati Mahila Mandal, ACCE(I), Bas Association Hubballi, Karnataka State Human Rights Protection & Corruption Eradication Struggle Committee, and other organisations, and JD(S) and Congress Party workers also took part in protests.

For the protesters, pulav and drinking water was also arranged at the Chennamma Circle.

Elaborate security arrangements were also made by the Police Department. The number of protesters gathered there came down by evening, and life in the City returned to normalcy after 6:00 pm.

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