Bengaluru, Dec 8 (IANS) Braving inclement weather, Covid scare and tight security, thousands of farmers, workers and their supporters staged massive rallies and demonstrations in cities, towns and villages across Karnataka on Tuesday in protest against the three farm laws and demanded their repeal.
“The Bharat Bandh has got mixed response in the southern state, as thousands of farmers led peaceful protest rallies, staged sit-in demonstrations and urged the central government to withdraw the 3 anti-farmer laws immediately,” a state home department official told IANS here.
The dawn-to-dusk 12-hour nationwide shutdown evoked total response in towns and villages while it was partial in cities, including Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubli, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Ballari and Bidar.
As all farmers were in their towns and villages to observe the bandh, they exempted Bengaluru from shutdown on Tuesday. The farmers’ organisations have decided to hold bandh in this tech hub on Wednesday.
“The situation is under control. Barring stray incidents of stone-throwing and forcing shops and eateries to close, the bandh has been peaceful so far across the state due to elaborate security arrangement and additional deployment of police personnel,” asserted the official.
The opposition Congress not only extended support to the bandh call, but also participated, with its state unit leaders, including president D.K. Shivakumar leading a rally from Town Hall to Freedom Park in the city and a sit-in demonstration at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Vidhana Soudha precincts (state secretariat).
Sporting a green towel on their shoulder and a headgear, hundreds of farmers in white dress blocked roads and highways and disrupted vehicular traffic. They raised slogans against the BJP-led central and state governments for enacting anti-farmer laws.
Besides vegetable and fruit markets, All Producers Marketing Committee (APMC) yards (mandis) remained shut in Bengaluru and other cities and towns across the state as growers, traders and other stakeholders joined the bandh.
Scores of pro-Kannada organisations, trade unions and workers associations have also extended their support to the bandh.
State-run transport corporation operated skeletal bus services in cities and towns as commuters were less due to the bandh and Covid-induced restrictions in carrying passengers in full capacity.
As essential supplies and services were exempted from the bandh, normal life was not affected across the state.
Banks, hotels and petrol pumps were also open in cities and towns.
Hundreds of members of JD-S, CPI, CPM, SDPI, All-India Dr BR Ambedkar Army, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Karnataka Kranti Sena, Karnatak Rajua Raita Sangha, AITUC and other organisations staged protests across the state.
Scores of farmers came to cities and towns from villages in tractors and bullock carts to stage protests and sit-on demonstrations.