Karnataka Bandh in Bijapur fails to make impact

Life remained normal, Kannada outfits accuse MLA Yatnal of sabotaging Bandh  

BIJAPUR; 05 Dec: The Karnataka Bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits on Saturday, received a near-nil response from the people with life remaining normal.

The Bandh remained confined largely to taking out protest rally by several  members of organizations such as Karnataka Rakshana Vedike from Ambedkar circle to Deputy Commissioner’s office.

Since most no major organizations had extended support to the Bandh, which was called to oppose the government decision to constitute a welfare board for Marathas, it was mostly expected that the Bandh would not see much impact on the lives of people.

All commercial establishments, shops, vegetable markets, public transport and government offices functioned as usual.

Since the police had made strong security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident, heavy deployment of the police was seen in all prominent public places of the city.

In Bijapur city, though the Bandh failed to evoke any public response, the protest had become a face-off between BJP MLA, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and pro-Kannada organizations.

After Yatnal calling pro-Kannada outfits as ‘ thieves and extortionists ‘, the statements had drawn sharp response from the outfits who began issuing counter statements against Yatnal through social media.

Some people who called themselves Kannada activists also used objectionable and derogatory words against Yatnal in the videos shared on social media sites.

The matter only began taking ugly turn when Yatnal and his supporters challenged Kannada outfits to show they hold Bandh in the city.

Veteran Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj who was trying to enter Bijapur city to protest against Yatnal and the government, was detained 60 kilometers away from the city itself by the police.

While in other parts of the State, it was merely a Bandh by Kannada organizations to express their anguish against the government for forming Welfare Board for Marathas, in Bijapur, it had apparently become a war of prestige between Yatnal and Kannada outfits. On the one hand, Yatnal and his supporters were defending the decision of the government stating that the welfare board has been constituted for Marathas living in Karnataka and not to promote Marathi language in Karnataka.

Meanwhile during the protest rally, the members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike gathered at Ambedkar circle and shouted slogans against the BJP government calling it anti-Kannadigas.

A minor scuffle was also witnessed between the police and the protestors.

Later, addressing media persons, M. C. Mulla, District President of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike accused Yatnal of forcing the shopkeepers and traders not to support the Bandh.

“ Yatnal has been trying to suppress the Bandh by misusing the powers. He had not only threatened the traders but also had directed the police to make sure that they do not let the Bandh become successful”, he said.

He said that it is grossly unfortunate that an MLA is trying to ensure that a pro-Kannada Bandh is failed.

Claiming that pro-Kannada organizations never forced the shopkeepers to shut their businesses, he said that they had asked for the support voluntarily.

“ While many organizations had extended support to us, but because of the fear of MLA, they could not openly support the Bandh”, he alleged.

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