Karnataka Bandh: Protests, Detentions Across State Over Farm Bills
Protesters across districts were detained by the police amid clashes and disruption of public transport.
A day-long Karnataka ‘Bandh’ called by several farmers, Dalits and pro-Kannada organisations on Monday, 28 September against the passage of agriculture related Bills in Parliament saw protesters engaged in efforts to make it a success across the state.
The Bandh call given by these organisations saw a successful execution in large parts of Karnataka except in districts like Mangaluru and Udupi, where the Sangh Parivar allied groups wields iron like grip.
Both opposition parties Congress and JD(S) extended their support to the Bandh call given by these organisations and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee was even participating in the bandh by organising a protest in front of its state headquarters.
In a strong bid to discourage the state-wide shutdown, the Karnataka government had directed major transport corporations to keep open its operations, but in some districts like Belagavi, Dharwad where farmers and pro-Kannada activists hold sway, seized bus stations not allowing movement of the vehicles.
Protesters Detained in Several Districts
According to The News Minute (TNM), no incidents of violence were reported as a result of the bandh while police across the state detained protesters as they attempted to stop the movement of people.
Bengaluru city police commissioner, Kamal Panth through his Twitter had asserted that the police had taken all measures and it will act tough on those who try to impose forced Bandh in the city.
While areas like Town Hall, City Railway Station and Majestic Bus Stand in Bengaluru saw large gatherings of protesters who shouted slogans against the BJP, a rally of protesters also marched from Town Hall to Freedom Park via the Mysore Bank Circle.
Activists of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike’s women wing staged a protest at the Kempegowda International Airport before being arrested, TNM reported.
Roads Blocked, Public Transport Affected
As farmers blocked state and national highways, traffic flow on the Outer Ring Road in Bengaluru was also temporarily stopped by protesters, according to TNM.
Protests were held by farmers and pro-Kannada groups in Mysuru, Tumkur and Mangaluru too, where many protesters were detained. Many buses going from Mysuru city centre to rural and suburban areas were stopped.
Public transport took a severe hit across several districts.
While many establishments remained closed in Kodagu, Chikkamagalauru, Hassan and Chamrajanagara in southern interior of Karnataka, bike rallies were conducted by protesters in Shivamogga.
Protests were also held in Hubbali, Dharwad, Haveri, Chitradurga and Bellary. According to TNM, other than Mangaluru and Udupi, coastal Karnataka did not see as many protests as the rest of the state.
Opposition Slams Yediyurappa, BJP
Several Opposition leaders slammed the BJP andn Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa, alleging that the party wishes to enslave the farmers to the corporates.
“They are lying to farmers. Narendra Modi is a liar and to being what he says into practice in this state, Yediyurappa is also repeating the lie. This is all against farmers,” K Chandrashekhar, the chief of Farmer's Federation of Karnataka, was quoted by NDTV as saying.
Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the PM Modi and Yediyurappa are both “harmful” to agriculture in the state.
Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar said that the BJP wants to keep the farmers as “slaves”.
“Entire lands of the farmers have been taken. It is a very bad amendment that they have brought. They have brought amendments to buy lands from the farmers. They want to keep the farmers as slaves so we are opposing this tooth and nail,” Shivakumar told NDTV.
Will Step Down If I Find Farmers Are Being Cheated: Yediyurappa
Launching a counter attack on Karnataka Congress leaders, Yediyurappa on Monday accused the Congress of using gullible farmers to oppose the farmer friendly Acts enacted by PM Modi.
Speaking to reporters, Yediyurappa asserted that he would never allow farmers to be deceived by anyone, including the Congress.
“I had invited them (farmer leaders) for talks, which failed due to Congress' machinations. I am not sitting here just to enjoy power, but to help the farmers. These bills will change their lives forever,” he said.
Seemingly upset with farmers raising slogans against the CM and terming him as “son of corporates and not son of the soil”, Yediyurappa asserted that he is not the one to stick to power by cheating the farmers, and would be happy to vacate his seat the moment he realises that farmers are being cheated by his actions.
“Let the farmers come to me and talk. I will not allow them to be cheated at any cost. Let them protest today and let them vent out their anger. But after their anger against me recedes, let them come to me, I will explain to them the benefits of these acts,” he said.
Reiterating that the farm Bills would help eliminate middlemen from the agri-business, Yediyurappa appealed that the farmers should give him at least eight months to a year's time to realise the benefits or ill-effects of these bills.
He alleged that farmers across the country are being misguided by the Congress.
“The Congress has been the biggest cheater in this aspect. Their own manifesto in 2019 had spoken about this Act, and once we came to power, we brought the same Act, which has become an indigestible fact for them. They are instigating and misleading the farmer community across the country,” he said.
Yediyurappa added that Surjewala is new to the state, and should first get familiar with the issues here.
“It would better on his part to remain silent on our party's internal matters, as he should be more worried about the internal bickering of the Congress in Karnataka,” he said.
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.