Karnataka Bandh on January 25 Over Mahadayi Dispute:
“1st Karnataka bandh of 2018”
“Karnataka bandh tomorrow: Normal life likely to be affected; schools, offices may remain shut”.
The state-wide bandh called by Pro Kannada organisations and farmers on 25 January is expected to affect life across the state and capital Bengaluru.
A 12-hour bandh, from 6 am to 6 pm, has been called by veteran activist and former MLA Vatal Nagaraj-led ‘Kannada Okkuta’ and other fringe outfits. The bandh is said to also be supported by few taxi and auto-drivers’ union
However, fissures have emerged among the various groups who have called for the bandh, which is over Mahadayi river water sharing row. Despite differences, Vatal Nagaraj, who heads Kannada Okoota, an umbrella organisation of Kannada bodies, confirmed that the state-wide dawn to dusk bandh on 25 January will happen as per schedule. Nagaraj also demanded the prime minister’s intervention. Other groups have, however, opposed to the bandh.
Private schools and government offices are expected to remain closed in view of the bandh. Citing safety issues, the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka said member-schools would remain closed on 25 January.
Bengaluru Metro is expected to run normally.We will not stop services. If and only if there is a hindrance to the safety of the passengers, we will inform the police and stop services. However, for now it has been decided that the metro will run without any hassle.Vasanth Rao, the Public Relations Officer of Namma Metro,told reporters.
Transport services would, however, function on Thursday. Several app-based taxi services said on the social media that they would function as normal. H D Revappa from the KSRTC Employee Federation, affiliated to the CITU, told media persons that services would be operational on Thursday. However services in Hubbali and other parts of northern Karnataka are likely to be severely hit as the epicentre of the protests are in those areas. Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) managing director V Ponnuraj said they would follow the directives given by the State government he added.
Security Hightened across city :
Bengaluru Police commissioner, T Suneel Kumar, said that we have made elaborate security arrangements,15000 Policemen and officers of Bengaluru City Police will be on Bandobast duty. Persons indulging in unlawful activities will be booked under various provisions of law. DO NOT cause damage to public property. It is an offence.Miscreats to be punished.“We have deployed our officers and staffs for security arrangements all over the city. Any miscreants found troubling public or making any nuisance affecting the public will be firmly dealt with stringent measures.All the senior officers as Addl CPs,Joint CPs,DCPs,ACPs,PIs,PSIs and staff of Bengaluru city police and traffic cops will also pressed into action for no untoward incident to take place and we have already identified some areas where miscreants have damaged public property we have deployed adequate force to keep a eye on miscreants and we have taken many notorious rowdy elements into preventive custody for no untoward incident take place he added .
The Karnataka Sanghatanegala Okkoota (KSO) president HB Nagesh said in his statement to media persons that , “We oppose the bandh as it would affect the livelihood of a large number of daily wage workers and also cause hardship to the general public.” They also opposed what they called the “unilateral decision” taken by Nagaraj.” KSO is an umbrella group they said.
Several Kannada activists had expressed anger and questioned Nagaraj’s decision to call for a bandh. “Did you take our consent before giving a bandh call on 25 January? We will not support it. Our intention of calling a bandh on 27 January was to pressure Modi to intervene in the Mahadayi issue, as he was to visit the state on 28 January. Frequent bandhs are causing a lot of inconvenience to the public, who are now upset.”
Several IT firms in Bengaluru have told their employees to either take the day off or work from home.
The management of the corporations has also decided not to suspend services. Bangalore University has postponed all exams scheduled for 25 January. It has put up the revised schedule on its website bangaloreuniversity.ac.in. Time and venue remain unchanged.
The outfits have announced the strike in order to put pressure on the state and central governments to resolve the Mahadayi water-sharing dispute. They are protesting against the non-implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri dam project, which will divert water from the Mahadayi river to districts in North Karnataka.
Political slugfest as BJP and Congress continue blame game:
The call for bandh has sparked a bitter war-of-words between the ruling Congress and the principle Opposition in the state the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP called the two bandhs (25 January and 4 February) “politically motivated” demanding the Prime Minister’s intervention in the inter-state Mahadayi river water dispute with Goa. The party alleged Congress government had a role in selection of dates when BJP national president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to visit the poll-bound state to take part in ‘Nav Karnataka Parivartan Yatra’, organised by the state unit.
Shah will address a rally on 25 January in Mysuru. Modi will arrive in Bengaluru on 4 February. “There is no necessity for a Karnataka bandh.If there was a bandh in the affected area,it is fine;what has Mysuru got to do with the issue?” BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa said in his statement. The 25 January programme in Mysuru would go ahead as planned, Yeddyurapppa told and added that his party was in favour of protecting the state’s interests on the Mahadayi issue.Accusing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of extending support to the bandh with “malicious” intent, he said, “The chief minister is trying to create confusion, stop buses and close schools and colleges as done in the past.I have not heard of any chief minister behaving in such a manner he added.
Hitting back at the BJP, Siddaramaiah termed BJP’s allegations as baseless. “Will Vatal Nagraj or Kannada organisations listen to government.why should we ask them to organise a bandh? It is a problem for the government if there is a bandh,” he said, adding, “We have nothing to do with it, let BJP go and request Kannada organisers against bandh.”