The Bharat Bandh called by the Congress saw unique protests across Karnataka, which witnessed a near-total shutdown.

Karnataka leaders ride a horse buffalo to protest against fuel pricesAll images PTI
news Bharat Bandh Monday, September 10, 2018 - 17:52

Fuel prices in India continue to soar even as Monday’s Bharat Bandh called by the Opposition-led Congress was underway. In JD(S)-Congress ruled Karnataka, where the bandh was near total, some leaders resorted to unique demonstrations to register their protest against rising fuel prices.

Leading the way was JD(S) MLC TA Saravana. The MLC who is close to the first family of the JD(S) joined the party’s demonstration on horseback to make a statement against the rising fuel prices. He then submitted a petition to Bengaluru DC’s office. However, Vatal Nagaraj, prominent face of the pro-Kannada activism went one step ahead and rode a buffalo at the Majestic Bus Station in Bengaluru. Members of other pro-Kannada organisations including Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, which also joined the bandh call were seen pulling a car with a rope outside Palace Grounds to drive home the point. Some pro-Kannada activists also started playing cricket outside the bus terminus.  

Similarly, JD(S) workers who had assembled at Town Hall protested by carrying empty LPG gas cylinders and shouting slogans against the BJP-led Centre over the rising price of cooking gas.At Maurya Circle, Youth Congress leaders took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The protest had a youth Congress worker wearing a mask of Modi, sitting astride a two-wheeler that was on a cart.  

In neighbouring Kerala, which also came to a standstill owing to the bandh, former Home Minister and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala was seen riding a bullock cart in Kochi.

The day-long nationwide shutdown on Monday against rising fuel prices affected normal life in Karnataka as public transport stayed off the roads across the state. Schools and colleges were closed although state and central government offices remained open.  In Bengaluru, global software firms like Infosys and Wipro functioned normally.

With the ruling Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supported its ally Congress on the bandh, their cadres as well as activists of the pro-Kannada organisations like Kannada Vedica Paksha (KVP) were seen forcing restaurants, shops and fuel stations to remain shut at least till 3pm. Many theatres, multiplexes and malls did not open for business. Bank transactions were hit.

Till 2pm, only 171 out of a total 4726 bus journeys by state run Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation operated. Past 3pm, however, bus services started plying. But bus junctions across the state wore a deserted look. The shutdown, however, did not affect flight or train services in Bengaluru and Mysuru though passengers faced harrowing time at the airport and railway stations due to the absence of buses, cabs and autos.

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