Poor response to MES bundh call in Belgaum

Banks, govt offices function as usual; transportation affected

Business as usual:  Markets remained open in Belgaum on Friday in spite of a bundh call by the Maharashtra Ekikaran  Samiti, in protest against the ransacking of the mayor and deputy mayor’s offices. DH Photo

While shops and commercial establishments remained closed in Marathi-speaking areas, the business was as normal in other areas. Banks, government offices and majority of the schools and colleges functioned as usual.

Few schools had declared holiday. However, autos and KSRTC buses did not venture into roads in view of the Thursday’s stone throwing incident. Inter-state buses and buses to and from Maharashtra did not operate as a precautionary measure.  Office-going public had a harrowing time due to lack of transportaion.

The MES activists, led by former mayor Sambhaji Patil, took out a protest march from Sambhaji Circle and assembled in front of the deputy commissioner’s office. The protesters raised slogans against the State government all along the route. They submitted a memorandum to deputy commissioner Dr Ekroop Kaur.

The offices of Mayor Manda Balekundri and Deputy Mayor Renu Killekar were ransacked, allegedly by members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, against their participation in a Black Day rally organised by the MES on the Rajyotsava day. The Kannada organisations were also irked by the defection of Balekundri to MES after her election from Sarva Bhashik Samvichari Vikasa Vedike.

Factionalism comes to fore

Factionalism in the MES came to the fore during the protest as a war of words ensued between the activists over according priority to leaders in addressing the protestors.

The speakers, called upon MES cadres to say united.  Poor turn out of members compelled the MES to delay the protest march. Mayor Manda Balekundri, Deputy Mayor Renu Killekar, former legislator Manohar Kinekar and others took part in the protest.

The police had detained as many as 45 persons, in the wake of the bundh call. There were no reports of any untoward incident.

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