Karnataka Bandh Over Cauvery Dispute Brings Cities to a Standstill

Passengers reached airports and railway stations in the early hours of the morning, before the bandh began at 6 am. 

3 min read
Protesters destroy posters of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. (Photo: PTI)

A full day without cars, buses and all kinds of public transport on Bengaluru roads made the city look like it did before it urbanised rapidly. Several parts of Karnataka remained crippled on Friday as part of a daylong bandh to protest the state’s release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

Farmers groups as well as pro-Karnataka activist groups called for the strike after the Supreme Court directed the state to release 15,000 cusecs of water daily for 10 days to Tamil Nadu.

Public Transport Shutdown, Normal Life Affected

Movement of people and goods halted entirely in many cities and towns of Karnataka, as normal life came to a standstill.

Though flights and trains were still functional, several people found it difficult to reach in time in the absence of public or private transport.

Many passengers who had to board trains or flights during the day rushed to railway stations and airports in the early hours before the 12-hour-shutdown began at 6 am.

No major instances of violence have been reported, though in a sporadic incident, a cab driver ferrying passengers was punched by protesters in Bengaluru.

Bengaluru, Mysore, Mandya and other cities saw heavy security and police personnel patrolling the streets to maintain law and order. On Friday morning, hundreds of protestors gathered at Bengaluru’s Town Hall to march to Freedom Park in protest.

State-run Bengaluru metro rail corporation, which operates on the east-west corridor, also suspended service, but it may resume late evening if normalcy prevails.

Pro Kannada organisation activists shot slogans during the statewide bandh. (Photo: PTI)
Pro Kannada organisation activists shot slogans during the statewide bandh. (Photo: PTI)

Schools, IT Companies Declare a Holiday

The state government declared holiday for all schools and colleges across the state to avoid inconvenience to students and teachers in the absence of transport.

Hundreds of IT companies, including Infosys, Wipro and multinationals in Bengaluru and Mysuru declared holiday for their employees, responding to the shutdown call by the Karnataka Okkuta, a federation of 500 pro-Kannada and other organisations.

Similarly, factories, private offices, markets, shops, malls, hotels, eateries, pubs, bars, theatres and petrol bunks have remained closed in support of the shutdown.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Asks PM Modi to Intervene

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to intervene and ease the situation.

Siddaramiah also appealed for peace and urged protesters not to damage public property during the bandh.

Tamil Channels Blocked by Cable Operators

The broadcast of Tamil channels has also been stopped by cable operators.

Prominent Kannada actors came forward to show their support for Karnataka farmers, and their solidarity with the bandh. Stars like Shivrajkumar and Puneeth Rajkumar demanded a solution to the historic agitation.

The highway between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu remained practically sealed on Friday, and people have been told not to enter Karnataka in vehicles with a Tamil Nadu registration number, as protesters stand vigil at the border between the two states.

Social Media Reacts to the Bandh

(With inputs from IANS, Livemint, International Business Times, NDTV.)

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