They played badminton on the road, they had a mock funeral for leaders and they burnt effigies. Activists from various pro-Karnataka organisations took to the streets to ensure that the state wide bandh called on Monday was a success.
The dawn-to-dusk bandh was called for by Kannada Okkootta, headed by Vatal Nagaraj, to raise a number of issues including the Mahadayi water dispute, highlight the drinking water crisis faced by people in the state, and also demanding that the central government waive off farmer loans.
Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activists and Karnataka Film Chamber chief Sa Ra Govindu had also extended their support to the bandh and took part in a procession held in the state capital Bengaluru.
But the bandh got lukewarm response in Bengaluru, while it was partially successful in a few other districts. Educational institutions, BMTC service, metro service as well as cab services operated as usual in the capital city. However, a few single-screen theatres are reported to be shut, since Sa Ra Govindu has extended his public support to the bandh. KSRTC operations were stopped at Kolar, Chikkaballapur divisions and Pava Gala depot.
Pro-Kannada activists took to the streets in Hubballi, Bagalkot, Shivamogga, Ramanagara and Chikkaballapura, with protesters forcing business establishments to shut shop.
In Hubballi, protesters blocked roads and raised slogans, after which, they went about closing down shops. A mock funeral of leaders was also conducted in Hubballi, and protesters burnt effigies of CM Siddaramaiah, Water Resource Minister MB Patil, PM Narendra Modi and Union Minister Uma Bharati.
According to reports, the bandh was near total in Nargund, where organisers received massive support.
In Bengaluru, Vatal Nagaraj took out a procession march from Town Hall. At the corporation circle, the police took the protesters including Vatal, KRV President Praveen Shetty and Sa Ra Govindu into preventive custody.
Praveen Shetty was detained while he was trying to lay siege to Vidhana Soudha, where the monsoon session of the assembly is in progress.
Speaking to reporters after being detained by the police, Vatal said:
"We have been raising the issue of Mahadayi project for the past two years, but still nothing has been resolved yet. We want the Centre to waive off farmer loans. Let them (the government) know who I am and what we can do."