Farmers and Kannada organisations, backed by the opposition BJP and JD(S), have called for a bandh in Bengaluru today to protest the release of Cauvery water to neighboring Tamil Nadu.
The Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti, an umbrella organisation of farmers’ associations and other groups led by farmer leader Kuruburu Shanthakumar, has called for a dawn-to-dusk bandh.
Over 200 protesters, including the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the federation of pro-Kannada organisations, Vatal Nagaraj and Praveen Shetty, have been arrested for defying prohibitory orders and marching towards Raj Bhavan from Vidhana Soudha.
Police personnel, armed with riot gear, have been deployed in several areas to maintain law and order in the city. All shops are closed except those providing essential services.
Leaders of the ‘Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti were detained by the police at the Mysuru Bank circle, as they were marching down to the Town Hall to protest the state government’s decision.
Activists and farmer leaders have accused the Congress government in the state of using state machinery to clamp down on their right to protest.
Prohibitory orders were put in place across the city from midnight on Monday ahead of the bandh. The orders will remain in place till midnight today. A public holiday was announced for all educational institutions in the city while private offices were advised to function in work-from-home mode.
“No one can forcefully implement the bandh by using force, other than in cases where someone wants to observe it voluntarily,@ Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda said, as quoted by news agency PTI.
Although hotels and restaurants are open, the Bangalore Hoteliers Association has supported the bandh call.
Another statewide bandh has been called for Friday.