Bengaluru: A dawn-to-dusk Karnataka bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits on Friday to protest against the Supreme Court’s direction to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu is likely to throw normal life out of gear.
This is the second bandh that the state is bracing for in less than a week’s time and the fourth this year.
Officials said the bandh on the emotive Cauvery issue is being supported by several organisations, unions and political parties.
Public transport may be affected as state transport buses will stay off the roads, and autorickshaw and cab unions are extending their support to bandh. Metro services is also likely to be hit.
Keeping security of students in mind, schools and colleges have declared a holiday tomorrow and attendance at government offices will not be compulsory, according to officials.
While some private companies have declared holiday, others are making alternative arrangements like ‘work from home’ for employees.
Tamil channels will not be aired on Friday with Karnataka Cable Operators Association supporting the bandh. Shops and establishments, markets, petrol bunks, hotels and malls are likely to remain shut, besides banks.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order. Extra forces have been deployed with two companies each from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, one from Maharashtra and 10 companies of central forces, police said.
Chief Minister Siddaramiah made an appeal for peace and said there should be no damage to public property during the bandh.
“We are making all required arrangements. Bandh should be peaceful and no untoward incident should happen. Those who have called for bandh should also take care,” he added.
The Chief Minister also held a meeting of senior officials of Home and police departments to review security measures.
Seeking cooperation from public and organisations in maintaining peace, Home Minister G Parameshwara said the issue is of entire state and the government had to take certain decisions within the framework of law.
In Bengaluru, more than 14,000 police personnel will be deployed. 36 Karnataka State Reserve Police, 30 City Armed Reserve platoons and one company Rapid Action Force have been deployed.
‘Kannada Okkoota’, led by Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj will be holding a “massive” protest march from Town hall to Freedom Park in city in the morning.
The Cauvery row erupted after the Supreme Court on Monday directed to Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu for the next 10 days to address the plight of farmers there.
Protests continued for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday in Mandya district in the Cauvery heartland and several parts of southern Karnataka.
Vehicular movement between Bengaluru and Mysuru was hit on Thursday as well as the highway was blocked at several places in Mandya district, the epicentre of the stir. A few film stars also joined the protest.
In Bengaluru, BJP corporators led by former Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka and ‘Kannada Okkoota’ held demonstrations. The state’s principal opposition BJP has also supported Karnataka bandh.