Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday, December 29, appealed to Kannada organisations not to go ahead with the state-wide bandh called by them on December 31, demanding a complete ban on the activities of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi (MES). He said the government has already taken action against "anti-Kannada forces" and was examining their demand for the ban legally.
"I appeal to organisations... as per their wishes, we have already taken several decisions. We have taken strict action as per law against anti-Kannada forces. On the demand for banning MES, we are examining it legally. So I appeal to them through the media not to go ahead with the bandh. Bandh is not an answer for everything," Bommai said. Speaking to reporters in Hubballi, he said, the government would welcome it if organisations want to put pressure in any other peaceful way, other than bandh. "So we earnestly appeal to the organisations to drop the bandh call," he added.
Several Kannada organisations have called for a day-long state-wide bandh on December 31, demanding a complete ban on the activities of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi in the state over its alleged involvement in "anti-Karnataka and anti-Kannada activities".
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The demand follows the recent incidents of burning of the Kannada flag in Maharashtra's Kolhapur and defacement of the statue of Kannada freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna in Belagavi, allegedly by MES activists. The MES, a Marathi outfit based in Belagavi, has been campaigning for long to merge Marathi speaking regions in Belagavi with Maharashtra.
When asked whether MES can be banned as per the law, Bommai said, "We are examining it. I'm not saying it will be banned, I had said the same thing in the Assembly as well. We will have to look into it."
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To a question if the organisations try to implement the bandh forcefully, he said, "We will take action accordingly, as and when such a situation arises."
However, several organisations like the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC), Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association, autos, schools and colleges associations, shopping malls association and several other commercial establishments have offered only moral support and said they will not participate in the band and function normally.
Business establishments have cited brisk business during New Yearâ€™s for not physically supporting the bandh call.