Stones were pelted at a Tirupati-Mangaluru bus in Farangipet as the 12-hour Karnataka bandh called by several pro-Kannada organisations under the banner of Karnataka Sanghatanegala Okkoota began on Thursday, reported ANI.
Mangaluru: Stones pelted on a Tirupati-Mangaluru bus in Farangipet. Several pro-Kannada groups have called for Karnataka bandh today demanding implementation of Sarojini Mahishi report which recommended certain percentage of jobs to Kannadigas in private&public sector companies pic.twitter.com/mPJXUXJTR5
— ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2020
Several pro-Kannada outfits called for a bandh on Thursday, demanding implementation of the Sarojini Mahishi report by providing more jobs for Kannadigas in the state. The Karnataka bandh, which began at 6 am will continue till 6 pm and is likely to impact life in Bengaluru as well as in other parts of the state.
In Bengaluru, city buses plied as usual though most of them ran almost empty as there were very few commuters. Autorickshaws operated as usual though one of the autorickshaw drivers' associations had supported the bandh
In Bengaluru, Ola, Uber and auto services were affected even though buses were on as usual. Security has also been beefed up in Bengaluru, with two ACPs, five police inspectors, 15 sub-inspectors and 800 personnel deployed, reports The Indian Express. Heavy deployment of policemen has been made at important locations to check untoward incidents.
Public transportation including the Namma Metro and the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) are to be functioning as normal in Bengaluru, reports The Hindu. Several reports claim that the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) staff and workers associations are yet to decide if they will participate in the bandh.
However, cab services may take a hit from 6 am to 6 pm as cab owners and auto drivers who are part of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Union and Jai Bharatha Vehicle Owners and Drivers Association are set to take part in the bandh.
Tanveer, president of Ola, Uber Drivers’ and Owners’ Association, Bengaluru told ANI, "We have told our drivers to stop services till evening. More than 70,000 vehicles usually run, but we are stopping the service today. We are supporting the bandh."
The main trade area of the city, KR Market and surrounding places had no effect of the bandh in the morning hours. Pro-Kannada activists were on the city rounds appealing to traders to shut their shops in their support.
In Anekal near Attibele in the city on Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, activists reportedly tried to shut shops and business establishments forcibly. At Pirangipet in Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district, stones were pelted at a private bus in the morning. Heavy deployment of policemen has been made at important locations to check untoward incidents.
The government said schools and colleges would function as usual. Police said no permission had been given for any rally and warned of action against those forcing closure of businesses and shops, PTI reported. Meanwhile, Bangalore University has postponed all postgraduate examinations scheduled for Thursday in the view of the bandh.
Many organisations have also extended their support to the bandh. According to The NewsMinute, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC), Lorry Owners Association, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) among others have supported the call for the bandh on 13 February.
The organisations are demanding the implementation of a report by former union minister Sarojini Mahishi that recommends a certain percentage of jobs to Kannadigas in public sector undertakings, private companies, and multinational companies. The report was submitted in 1984 but is yet to be implemented.
The Karnataka government on Wednesday said that it is committed to fulfilling the Sarojini Mashishi report. "Our government has shown commitment towards the implementation of the Sarojini Mahishi report. We have already implemented the report in the government sector. In the private sector, we are trying to implement it step by step. A cabinet decision has been taken to implement it step by step," Minister for Kannada and Culture CT Ravi said.
Stating that its implementation was not easy in the private sector as availability of skilled workforce, among others, should be looked into, Ravi said "we can say it should be compulsory, but we will have to look into the consequences also. So we are discussing (with the private sector). After imparting required training (to locals), it can be implemented. Or else it may lead to the closure of industries,"
The Sarojini Mahishi Committee, headed by former Union Minister Sarojini Mahishi, was constituted in 1984 to recommend job opportunities for Kannadigas in Karnataka. It submitted the report two years later.
Ravi hit out at the leader of the opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah for recently announcing his support for the agitation, calling it a "joke". He pointed out that after the report was submitted, the former chief minister had been in power for the "most period", either as a member of the Janata Dal (U) or the Congress.
"Was he eating groundnuts then (while in power)? Now that he has lost power, he has remembered the Sarojini Mahishi report. Was he sleeping while in power?" he asked.
Siddaramaiah had recently met Kannada outfits agitating for implementation of the report and had extended his full support to them.
Ravi also said the government desired that the medium of instruction should be Kannada, but as the chief minister recently said, it cannot succeed without the cooperation of society.
"The Supreme Court has already said it is the choice of parents to choose the medium of instruction and it cannot be imposed. This has made the government helpless. When we desire that the administration should be in Kannada, without making it compulsory in education, how can it remain in administration?" he asked.
Worried that a situation may arise when the future generations may not be in a position to understand Kannada, he said "without making it (Kannada) compulsory in education, how can it be implemented in administration? It is a complex problem."
The minister said that the government was committed to the promotion of Kannada.
It has been decided to call a meeting of opposition leaders, literary figures, thinkers, regarding filing an appeal for "reexamination" of the Supreme Court decision to explore if there is an opportunity, or else bring in a constitutional amendment taking on board other states, who share the sentiment. He also said several government ministers, including Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, have spoken to those who have called for the bandh on Thursday and tried to convince them against it.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2020 11:12:56 IST