Pro-Kannada outfits have called for a bandh in Karnataka today (13th February) due to which normal life is likely to be disrupted in the state. The bandh will reportedly be in effect from 6 am to 6 pm on Thursday. The Kannada outfits, through the bandh, are demanding the implementation of over three-decades-old report of a committee on providing more jobs for Kannadiga youths in the government and the private sectors. Meanwhile, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has appealed to the organisations not to cause any inconvenience to the general public as he asserted his government was always pro-Kannada.
Karnataka Bandh LIVE updates:
11:39 am: Chief Minister Yediyurappa meets protesters
10:03 am: "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," said Tanveer, President of Ola, Uber Drivers’ and Owners’ Association, Bengaluru.
09:35 am: Pro-Kannada activist Praveen Shetty has been kept under house arrest. Several pro-Kannada groups have called for Karnataka bandh today demanding implementation of Sarojini Mahishi report, recommending a certain percentage of jobs to Kannadigas in private and public sector companies.
09:02 am: Pro-Kannada outfits set fire to tyres, block NICE road, media reports say
08:58 am: Stones pelted on a Tirupati-Mangaluru bus in Mangaluru's Farangipet
"Those agitating, if they are willing to talk to me, I'm always ready to talk to them. We have already done several that are possible (to implement the Sarojini Mahishi report), what other things can be done, I'm ready to talk to them," Yediyurappa said.
The 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.
Karnataka bandh: Will Ola, Uber be affected?
The bandh is likely to affect cab and autorickshaw services as unions of drivers, including those in app-based aggregators, are supporting it.
The government said bus services will be operated as usual and schools and colleges would also function while the police said no permission had been given for any rally and warned of action against those forcing closure of businesses and shops.
The protest call by the "Karnataka Sanghatanegala Okkoota", comprising a few factions of "Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV)", has the backing of Ola-Uber cab drivers' association, a few auto unions, associations of farmers, street vendors, trade unions and transporters.
Karnataka bandh: Mega rally planned
Praveen Shetty, leader of one of the factions of KRV, said a mega rally will be taken out from Anekal Toll Gate to the Chief Minister's residence.
Later, representatives of various protesting organisations will submit a memorandum to Yediyurappa demanding implementation of the report.
"We have decided to join the sit-in demonstration because it is about the job guarantee to the children born in Karnataka. It is about employment to those who are born in this soil," Shetty told reporters.
Ola-Uber Drivers' Association president Tanveer Pasha said the bandh has his organisation's support. The All India Trade Union Congress and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions have extended their "moral support" to the bandh call.
KRVs another important faction led by TA Narayana Gowda and former MLA Vatal Nagarajs organisation Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha have not supported the bandh.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar said there will be no holiday for educational institutions on Thursday.
There will be no holiday tomorrow. I believe that the organisations which have given call for Bandh will hold it peacefully, Kumar told reporters.
Transport minister Laxman Savadi said buses in the city and elsewhere will operate as usual and appealed to the bandh supporters not to cause any trouble to the passengers.
Minister for Kannada and Culture CT Ravi said the BJP 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," he said.
Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao said permission has not been given to the protest and none can forcibly shut shops or businesses.