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September 8, 2000
Call for 'Bangalore bandh' has no takers
M D Riti in Bangalore
The Bangalore bandh called by Kannada Rakshana Vedike, a pro-Kannada organisation, on Friday in protest against the delay in Dr Rajakumar`s release, is a flop, with life going on as normal in the city.
Buses are plying as usual, shops remain open, and schools and colleges are functioning as always. City Police Commissioner T Madiyal has said no organisation or group even sought permission for a Bangalore bandh, and has warned that any attempt to disrupt normal life will be dealt with sternly as prohibitory orders and Section 144 of the IPC are in force.
As a precautionary measure, however, a large number of anti-social elements were rounded up yesterday and taken into custody. Several battalions of police force from other states and cities can be seen all over the city keeping the peace, given the presence of the Tamil Nadu chief minister in Bangalore as well.
As the organisation calling the bandh is a lesser known pressure group, nobody even feared that the call would have many takers. If it had been the Rajakumar Fans Association calling the bandh, it would have been a different issue.
On another plane, there is talk that the Rajakumar family may now favour a new emissary going into the forest to talk to Veerappan, namely, lawyer Venugopal of Mysore, the man who is the TADA detainees' counsel. Venugopal has already begun broadcasting radio messages to Veerappan, introducing himself, and explaining that the Karnataka government is doing all it can to get the detainees released quickly as they are all "poor villagers". If the issue of detainees is really the only one standing in the way of Rajakumar's release, the latter's fans feel it is best that Venugopal goes into the forest and explains the exact legal position as well as the government's stand to the brigand.
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