Karnataka bandh tomorrow after Mahadayi water verdict

Bengaluru, July 29: Normal life of people is likely to be hit yet again after pro-Kannada organisations called for Karnataka bandh on Saturday July 30. The Karnataka bandh, spearheaded by Vatal Nagaraj, leader of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, has been called for after the verdict of Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) over water sharing of Mahadayi river. Several districts of north Karnataka on Thursday also witnessed violent protests over the rejection of Karnataka’s interim plea for sharing the Mahadayi river water with Goa.

A statewide shutdown is going to happen as almost all pro-Kannada outfits have extended their support to the bandh. The Kannada film fraternity has supported the shutdown assuring that no film will be shoot or screened on the bandh day. “The state has always been getting a raw deal when it comes to water and land. We intend to continue this fight until we win it,” Nagaraj was quoted as saying.

Security has been beefed up across Karnataka to avert any law and order situation on the day of bandh. The state police have taken the help of platoons of City Armed Reserve (CAR) and Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) to handle the situation. The issue got politicised with MPs from the state raising it in Lok Sabha. The issue witnessed charges and countercharges from BJP and Congress members from the state and at one point, Congress members stormed the Well when the ruling party attempted to target the Congress chief.

Normal life was affected on Thursday due to violent protest in north Karnataka cities, including Hubballi, Dharwad, Gadag and Belagavi. Angry protesters blocked all major roads in Hubballi, Dharwad and Gadag bringing normal life to a standstill. National Highway 218 between Hubballi and Dharwad has also been blocked. Protesters burnt tyres, used thorny bushes and bullock carts to stop movement of vehicles and pelted stones at public properties.

Similar situation was witnessed in Belagavi, Ballari, Mandya, Ramanagaram and Bengaluru. The Central Business District (CBD) in Bengaluru was choked. The protesters want the Karnataka government to challenge the interim order of MWDT. ”The shutdown affected road transport by state-run and private buses, trucks and other vehicles on the intra-state and inter-state routes. Buses to Goa across the border have been suspended till normalcy returns,” the official said.

At Navalgund in Dharwad district, police fired teargas and resorted to caning near a bus depot to disperse an angry mob from torching state-run buses parked in the bays.

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