Karnataka: Pro-Kannada outfits to observe state-wide bandh today; here’s what you should know

A KSRTC bus stand in Bengaluru. | File photo&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspPTI

Key Highlights

  • Govt’s decision to set up a Maratha Corporation in Karnataka has angered Kannada outfits
  • The activists are demanding the govt to withdraw the order
  • The govt has warned of strict action against forceful closure of businesses

Bengaluru: Pro-Kannada outfits are all set to observe Karnataka bandh today, despite Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s strict warning against forceful closure of business activities in the state. Meanwhile, the outfits claim that a majority of Kannada groups are in favour of the bandh and will see successful enforcement of it.

Pro-Kannada groups led by Kannada Okkuta chief Vatal Nagaraj have called for a bandh against state government’s decision to form Maratha Development Corporation in Karnataka.

While announcing the bandh on Saturday, Nagaraj asserted that it will total and successful as most Kannada groups are putting up a united fight. However, the government is trying to foil the closure of establishments using the police force, he added.

What businesses/services will observe the bandh?

Since some of the major auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers unions have announced their support to the bandh, cab and auto facilities are likely to remain shut today.

Public transport, including bus and metro, is expected to run as usual unless the situation gets worse and the authorities decide to call it off.

Restaurants and hotel owners have only announced “moral support” to the bandh and are likely to keep their businesses functioning.

But as claimed by Vatal Nagaraj, malls and commercial establishments in Karnataka are expected to be closed today.

Why is the bandh being observed?

Karnataka government’s decision to earmark Rs 50 crore for the formation of a Maratha Development Corporation in the state has angered pro-Kannada groups.

Kannada activists have always had a tussle with Marathas in the bordering district of Belagavi and have accused the Karnataka CM of indulging in appeasement politics. They are demanding the state government to withdraw the order to set up the Maratha corporation.

Why is the govt defending Maratha Corporation?

Defending the govt’s decision, Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwathnarayan said that the Maratha Development Corporation will be set up for the benefit of the Marathi people in the state, not the Marathi speakers.

“Marathas have been in the state for centuries. Justice has now been done. The Maratha Development Corporation will not do Kannadigas any injustice. It is better if governments in other states take similar measures to achieve social equality. We are all working to be a role model.” he added.

When asked whether Karnataka government is ready to form Tamil and Telugu development authorities, Ashwathnarayan said, “It is not wrong for them to have a corporation. Whoever lived in the state for 10 years, they are all Kannadigas. They cannot be called or treated as second-class citizens. The BJP government is embracing the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”

What has the govt said about bandh?

CM BS Yediyurappa appealed to the activists to call off the bandh and assured all support for the development of Kannada. He further stressed that a bandh will only cause inconvenience to the public.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai warned of strict action against the forceful closure of business activities in the state. He said that there are ways to protest but disrupting normalcy is not one of it.

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