Unlike previous bandhs, tyres were not burnt by protesters and thick smoke did not engulf major junctions when Hubballi city hosted one more near-total and peaceful bandh on Mahadayi issue on Thursday.
Burning tyres had become a major tool for protesters to express their ire, especially during bandhs. But this act posed threat for environment and human health. However, the situation was different during Thursday's bandh. Protesters took out rallies, padayatras, and mock funeral processions, but they did not burn tyres this time.
When a few protesters brought tyres to Channama Circle and set them ablaze, police asked them not to do so. Burning tyres were doused immediately.
"We asked all organisations that supported the bandh not to burn tyres, and we had promised the police that tyres would not be burnt during the bandh. Better awareness is now created about the dangers of burning tyres, and only effigies were burnt," said Mahadayi agitator Mahesh Pattar.
Meanwhile, different organisations took out mock funeral processions with the effigies of prime minister, State government, Union government, Goa government, and others, and burnt them at Chennamma Circle.
Different kinds of protest like forming human chain, paying last tributes, playing kabaddi, singing bhajans, mock tea sale, and comparing politicians with crabs were staged. When pro-Kannada activists entered the railway station and tried to stage a protest there, the RPF personnel sent them out. The Mahadayi agitators also tried to enter MP office premises, but police stopped them.
In addition to Mahadayi agitators and pro-Kannada activists, members of autorickshaw drivers' association, SDPI, JD(S), Congress Party and other organisations joined the protest at Chennamma Circle. Siachen braveheart Hanamanthappa Koppad's wife Mahadevi also expressed support to the agitation, and sought early settlement of Mahadayi dispute.
Rashtreeya Rajput Karani Sena members who were opposing 'Padmavat' Hindi film, also expressed support to Mahadayi protest, while Dalit organisations who took part in the protest burnt the effigy of Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde.
Most of the commercial establishments including cinema halls remained closed, while market places wore a deserted look. The bandh was intensive in the central commercial district, while residential and extension areas did felt much heat.
Schools and colleges remained closed, while bus service was also suspended. Those who came by train or those who had to catch a train, and those who came by bus from distant places experienced serious inconvenience to reach their destination. However, several autorickshaws were seen carrying passengers, skipping the protest zones.
In the early morning, the protesters stopped buses, autorickshaws and private vehicles, asking them to stop movement. Closure of shops was mostly voluntary, except for a few stray incidents of forcible closure.
Vehicular movement on the bypass road was also stopped for sometime, when a protest was staged at Gabbur Cross toll gate.
However, the medical service was not hindered, and very few employees worked in government offices and banks with closed gates, with no visitors.
Heavy police bundobust was arranged, while liquor sale was also prohibited from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.