Complete shutdown in northeast India during 'Janata Curfew'.
Complete shutdown in northeast India during 'Janata Curfew'.. Image Source: IANS News

Bengaluru, Dec 5 : The statewide dawn to dusk shutdown, called by the pro-Kannada activists in Karnataka on Saturday, turned out to be a damp squib with no major impact on normal life across the state.

Stray incidents of stone pelting at state run buses were reported from various parts but none of these incidents were "serious in nature" and the state remained largely free from any untoward incident, the police said.

The shutdown in Bengaluru witnessed two incidents of miscreants pelting stones on buses at K. R. Puram and Chandpura in Electronic City bordering Tamil Nadu. The day passed off by and large peacefully in the city.

Despite several auto-rickshaw and taxi unons supporting the shutdown, it did not have any impact as many autos and cabs started plying on the roads as early as 11 a.m.

Besides these, public transport buses and metro services were operating as usual while hotels and shops and other establishments largely remained open.

Activists from several Kannada organisations who tried to gather near the city's Town Hall for staging demonstrations were detained and taken away by the police.

Protests were reported from Chamarajanagara, Bengaluru Rural, Gadag, Koppa, Hassan, Ramanagara, Chitradurga, Davangere, Bagalkote, Chikkamagaluru and Mandya, among other districts.

Vatal Nagaraj of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, along with other leaders of the federation of Kannada associations, was detained near Town Hall when he came there to lead the protest. Karnataka Rakshana Vedike President Narayana Gowda and other leaders of his organisation were detained as they tried to march towards the CM's residence.

Police had made elaborate security arrangements in the city to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. Security had been beefed up around the Chief Minister's official residence and home office here, where some activists had planned to stage a sit-in.

Speaking to reporters after he was detained and released along with other leaders, Nagaraj claimed that about 25,000-30,00 Kannada activists were detained across the state to foil the protest and the shutdown.

He asserted that the agitation would continue until Chief Minister Yediyurappa resigned and the order on establishing the corporation was withdrawn.

In response to a question, Nagaraj said that the Federation was planning to launch a "jail bharo" protest in a couple of days and in this regard a meeting has been convened on December 9.

"Yediyurappa is a rogue, he has cheated Kannada and Kannadigas. Of late, he is behaving like a Hitler and using police against Kannada activists," he charged.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is in Belagavi to attend the BJP's state executive meeting.

Speaking to reporters in Belagavi, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that as expected people of the state have not responded to the shut-down call. Life was normal in Bengaluru and across the state with offices, private and public transport functioning.

"It was a normal day like every other day. Nothing changed. Business remained as usual. Things were peaceful but at some places there were stray incidents of burning tyres, forceful imposition of shutdown and also pelting stones on buses. In such incidents, police has acted sternly," he said.

The government's decision to create a body for the Maratha community is seen as a move by the ruling BJP to woo the community ahead of the Belagavi Lok Sabha, Maski and Basavakalyan assembly bypolls, which are yet to be announced. The community is said to have considerable presence there.

The government had earlier announced the setting up of the Maratha Development Authority, but subsequently changed it to corporation, as authority has to be constituted by a law, by passing an act in the legislature.

Despite opposition, the state government, following the cabinet approval, has issued a formal order establishing the Maratha Development Corporation, with an allocation of Rs 50 crore, which has further irked the pro-Kannada activists.

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