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Bengaluru bandh over Cauvery water row on Tuesday, state shutdown on Sept 29

September 25, 2023 21:08 IST

Amid ongoing protests across Karnataka against releasing Cauvery river water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu, two bandhs have been called this week -- in Bengaluru on Tuesday, and statewide on Friday.

IMAGE: Farmers stage a protest by standing in Cauvery water over the Cauvery water release issue, in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, September 24, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

The announcement for the Karnataka bandh on September 29 was made on Monday, under the banner 'Kannada Okkuta' -- led by Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj, days after the 'Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti', an umbrella outfit of farmers' associations and other organisations led by farmer leader Kuruburu Shanthakumar gave the call for Tuesday's Bengaluru shutdown.


The two bandhs reflect the divide among the farmers and pro-Kannada organisations, and has also now led to a confusion about who is supporting the bandh on which day, and whether services will be available on Tuesday.

While Shanthakumar has said that they will go ahead with the Bengaluru bandh on Tuesday, Vatal Nagaraj, who has called for a state bandh on Friday, made it clear that Kannada Okkuta is not supporting tomorrow's bandh.

Shanthakumar said they have received support from a number of organisations for their bandh call tomorrow and will go ahead with it.

"We will come in a protest to Bengaluru's Freedom Park and stage a demonstration there with our demands. The state government, the chief minister, will have to receive our memorandum. If there is no proper response to our protest from the government, we will decide on our further course of action," he said.

Calling for a peaceful bandh, he also appealed to the police to take adequate measures to ensure there are no untoward incidents.

Vatal Nagaraj said they had asked 'Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti' to postpone their bandh call and to observe it together with them on September 29.

"What we have called is Akhanda Karnataka bandh (entire Karnataka bandh) on September 29. It will be observed across the state without leaving any district. Our fight is for entire Karnataka. Kannada Okkuta has organised more than 50 bandhs in the whole state so far," he said, as he questioned why the bandh was called by others only for Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, Ola-Uber Drivers' Association today said they would extend full support for the September 29 Karnataka bandh called by pro-Kannada organisations but will not support Tuesday's bandh.

"Tomorrow our services will be normal. This decision was taken in a meeting held today in the presence of pro-Kannada and various organisations," the association in a statement said, adding that drivers are in the midst of financial difficulties and they are of the opinion that they cannot afford to lose two days of work.

The Hotel Owner's Association too has decided to withdraw support for the bandh tomorrow, citing confusion, and said all hotels and restaurants will be open.

However, associations and unions operating autos and taxis have extended their complete support for tomorrow's bandh call, and KSRTC Staff and Workers' Federation too had asked Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation staff not to bring out any buses from depots from dawn to dusk (6 am to 6 pm).

Metro services are likely to be unaffected by the bandh call and would continue to function as usual.

Most private schools and colleges across the state have already declared a holiday in the wake of the Bengaluru bandh tomorrow.

Janata Dal-Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy said his party would support Tuesday's bandh.

"I have asked my party workers to support the bandh. Our workers will support. There should be no chance for any untoward incident," he said.

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar also said that the people have the right to protest but that there should be no violence. Addressing media in Bengaluru, he said, protest is everyone's right in a democracy and it will not be curtailed.

"Our party people too called and spoke to me about the protest, I said, it's your right and protect it...but one has to understand about court orders before calling for protests or bandh, just giving such calls for media publicity is not right, as such calls may have legal repercussions," he said, adding that keeping everything in mind, let them decide.

If the public doesn't cooperate, the bandh will not have any value, said Shivakumar, citing alleged lack of consensus among the organisations on the bandh call, and two bandhs being called. "The government will not interfere in it."

The city police are taking all adequate security measures to ensure that no untoward incident takes place, officials said.

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