Bharath Bandh has little impact in Bengaluru, Belagavu
Bharath Bandh call given by Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which is spearheading the protest at Delhi borders demanding rollback of farm laws, seems to have had little impact on normal life in Bengaluru.
All businesses were open and public transport services, including autorickshaws and cabs, are functioning as usual. Most traders’ bodies and transport associations announced moral support to the bandh call, but refused to close businesses citing losses they have already incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Farmers and Kannada organisations have begun rallies from multiple points around Bengaluru – K.R. Puram, Mysuru Road, Maurya Circle – and are all set to converge at Town Hall by 11 a.m. from where they will proceed to a protest rally at Freedom Park. Police have detained farmer leaders and protestors at different points in Bengaluru, drawing the ire of farmers.
Kuruburu Shantakumar was leading a protest at Maurya Circle when he was detained and taken to Adugodi police station.
“We were holding a peaceful demonstration and were not even blocking the road. We have been detained illegally, and this is an undemocratic act. We refused to get down from the bus at the police station, and are protesting here,” he said from Adugodi police station.
A senior police official said that farmers had permission to hold a rally from Town Hall to Freedom Park, but instead farmers had commenced rallies from different parts of Bengaluru.
In Belagavi district, response to the Bharat Bandh call was lukewarm. However, members of farmers’ associations and Congress workers held protests in several places.
Most government and private offices, shops and eateries were open in the morning. NWKRTC buses and private vehicles were running as usual. Schools and colleges were open. Similar scenes were witnessed in Chikkodi, Gokak, Saundatti, Athani and other towns.
Farmers tried to stop buses from leaving the NWKRTC bus stand in Belagavi in the morning, which delayed the departure of some buses. However, police dispersed them after some time.
Sidagouda Modagi, farmers’ leader, said that the ’ protest would continue as long as the Union government remains adamant about not withdrawing the farm laws. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addresses farmers as his brothers, is not really concerned about our welfare. He has time to fly to America to meet corporate bosses, but has no time to meet farmers who are agitating in New Delhi for over 10 months now,’’ he said.
Farmers succeeded in stopping vehicles near the toll booth in Hire Bagewadi on the Pune-Bengaluru National Highway for a few minutes till police took the protestors into custody.
Congress leader Ayesha Sanadi and others staged a protest at Hire Bagewadi. She sat on the highway, with a noose around her neck while other protestors dressed as corporate managers, tried to pull it. Police took her into custody. She said she will continue to support farmers till their demands are fulfilled.