The Karnataka Bandh on Saturday got a good response in the city and had a total effect when it came to transport services that was worst hit. From early morning, KSRTC buses, auto rickshaws and taxis were off the roads severely inconveniencing the commuters.
The bandh call was given by various pro-Kannada organisations and farmers’ organisations across the state over the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal’s order rejecting Karnataka’s plea seeking 7.5tmc water for the Kalasa-Banduri project on the Malaprabha basin.
Except for a few roadside eateries, hotels remained closed in the main areas along with malls and business establishments. Hotels beyond the central business district were, however, open and hotel staff wore a black band to register their protest.
Emergency services including medical shops and hospitals functioned normally. Milk supply, and vegetable, fruit markets were open in the morning. Most private establishments, recreational establishments downed their shutters. Normal life will resume after 6 pm.
Transport services were hit in the city with both government buses and private transport services staff extending their support for the bandh. Workers of KSRTC, Mysore Tourist Taxi Association extended their support for the bandh.
Business houses, banks and commercial establishments in the Central Business District including K R Circle, D Devaraj Urs Road, Ashoka Road, Irwin Road and K T Street were fully closed and the shops that were open were forcibly closed by the protesters.
Autorickshaws too stayed off the roads with only a few autos plying in residential pockets and extensions. Activists of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (Shivaramegowda faction) paraded donkeys near the Akashawani Circle and shouted slogans against the Members of Parliament elected from Karnataka.
All government offices including the Deputy Commissioner’s Office, Mini Vidhana Soudha, CADA Office, Mysuru City Corporation Office were forcibly closed by slogan shouting protesters. More than 20 flower pots were damaged by the agitating mob at the MCC office. Tyres were burnt on the ring road by Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and Mysore Rakshana Vedike activists preventing vehicles from plying.
Protestors marched towards the house of Mysuru-Kodagu Member of Parliament Pratap Simha at Vijayanagar Fourth Stage to submit a memorandum asking him to convey the anger of the people of Karnataka to the Union Government. However, they had to return empty handed as the MP was not present at his house.
Train services were normal and Railway officials have said that said that there was no change in the timings of trains. “Only in case of an alarming situation, would we decide to cancel trains. Such a situation has not been reported so far. We do not cancel trains in advance also because it would be a form of indirectly supporting the bandh,” a Railway official said.
Though the district administration had not declared a holiday for schools and colleges, Associated Managements of English Medium Schools, Karnataka, Karnataka Unaided School Management Association had declared a holiday and supported the bandh.
As the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and Industry has extended its support for the bandh, not a single theatre in city including multiplexes screened any movies. Shows are expected to begin only after 6 pm.
There was tight police security in the Central Business District where more than 300 policemen maintained law and order. Teams were drawn from KSRP, DAR, CAR and Mounted Police who kept a strict vigil. City Police Commissioner B Dayananda, Deputy Commissioners of Police Dr H T Shekhar and Rudramuni and ACPs were patrolling around the city to prevent any untoward incident.