No response for bandh call in Hubballi

No response for bandh call in Hubballi

Members of various organisations stage a protest at Rani Chennamma circle in Hubballi on Thursday.

The call for North Karnataka bandh on Thursday failed to evoke response in the twin cities, as all the business was as usual, and not even a protest was staged till 11:00 am.

Movement of buses and autorickshaws started as usual. Holiday was not declared for schools and colleges. Shops and other commercial firms opened as usual, while functioning of government offices and banks was not affected. Everything was like any other weekday, as the bandh did not happen at all.

Only a few protesters, including some members of Uttara Karnataka Raitha Sangha which has given the bandh call demanding separate statehood for North Karnataka region, gathered at Chennamma Circle in Hubballi. They are waiting for farmers and others to join after 11:00 am, to stage a protest.

"We had asked all to voluntarily support the bandh call, and we did not force anybody. This is just the starting point of the struggle for the separate statehood, in the background of injustice to the region since unification, and we would intensify the agitation in coming days, if the negligence continues," said the Sangha district unit president Virupakshappa Kalimani.

Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti general secretary Nagesh Golashetty stated that a protest would be staged, and deputy commissioner would be urged to visit the spot and receive the memorandum seeking separate statehood.

Shadakshari Swamiji, who is supporting the separate state demand, stated that the demand is for the welfare of farmers in the region, and against the discrimination towards the region.

Police are in alert mode, and bundobust is made at all major places.

In the last three years, Hubballi has experienced a series of bandhs, especially over Mahadayi issue, and most of the bandhs were successful. Even those bandh calls which received mixed response resulted in the closure of at least shops at Chennamma Circle area and suspension of bus service. But, Thursday's scene was totally different, and from any angle, no bandh-like situation was seen anywhere.

Various organisations including Karnataka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), Mahadayi Kalasa-Banduri Horata Samanvaya Samiti, Dalit and Kannada organisations, trade unions and others had already opposed the bandh call for separate state demand. Though they admitted that North Karnataka region is lagging behind in development, mainly due to the negligence of people's representatives, they stressed the need to keep Karnataka united.

Uttara Karnataka Pratyeka Rajya Horata Samiti president Somashekhar Kothambari, who was with Uttara Karnataka Raitha Sangha while giving the call for bandh, had withdrawn the call later, based on assurances given by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

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