Many organisations in the State have extended their support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ that will be observed on Tuesday, but it is unlikely that life will be affected.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene State president Kodihalli Chandrashekar said, “All farmers’ associations in the State have supported the bandh call. Farmers will stage protests across the State and block highways. We are demanding the repeal of laws brought out by the Centre that are against the interest of the farmers,” he said. The Bengaluru Jilla Beedi Vyaparigala Sanghatenagala Okkoota also extended its statement to the bandh. The State unit of AAP announced that it will stage a protest on Tuesday at Maurya Circle.
While street vendors will remain closed in support, it will be business as usual for restaurants and hotels. P.C. Rao, president, Bruhat Bangalore Hotels’ Association, said that hotels will be open on Tuesday. “Henceforth, we have decided not to extend our support to any bandh.”
The bandh is unlikely to impact passenger transport services in the State. Road transport corporations said that services will be operated as usual. C. Shikha, MD, of BMTC said, “In Bengaluru, depot managers have been instructed to operate buses as per the schedule and not to provide leave for staff. Our security and vigilance officials will visit the field to oversee operations.”
Many auto and taxi unions have extended only moral support to the bandh call. K. Somashekar of Namma Chalakra Trade Union said, “We are extending our support to the farmers demanding justice in the country. But auto and taxi drivers are yet to recover from financial losses induced by COVID-19 and are not in a position to repay their loans. Considering the poor financial situation of the drivers, we have decided to provide services on Tuesday.”
Many private schools affiliated with the State board have decided not to conduct online classes in support of farmers. D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements’ of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said that online classes scheduled on Tuesday will be conducted another day. “However, online examinations and tests scheduled on Tuesday will continue as per schedule,” he said. The management of Independent CBSE Schools Association (MICSA) said that online classes will continue in schools associated with them.
Traffic diversions in CBD
As many as 15,000 policemen and 50 platoons of reserve police force have been deployed to maintain law and order in the city. Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant held a meeting with the senior officers to discuss security arrangements for the next two days. Ahead of the protest, the police announced that traffic will be diverted on key roads in Central Business District.
Additional police have also been deployed at entry and exit points. Patrolling on highways has been intensified to monitor the arrival of farmers and ensuretraffic and public transport are not disrupted.
On Monday, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai met senior police officers to discuss the arrangements. He directed the police to take strict action if the protests became violent or disrupted normal life.