Vandalism over Kannada sign boards in Bengaluru: KRV president Narayana Gowda arrested

The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike wants all commercial establishments in Bengaluru to implement the BBMP order mandating 60% space for Kannada in signages across the city.
KRV president Narayana Gowda
KRV president Narayana Gowda
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Bengaluru police arrested Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) president TA Narayana Gowda and 28 other individuals on Thursday, December 28, following aggressive protests staged by the pro-Kannada organisations across the city. The demonstrations, held on Wednesday, called for a mandate that all business establishments in the city display sign boards primarily in Kannada.

Hundreds of pro-Kannada activists took to the streets, opposing the use of English language signboards (without prominent display of Kannada signages) in various parts of Bengaluru. The demonstrations turned aggressive as protestors vandalised banners and placards, demanding immediate installation of Kannada signages. They even pulled down boards which had both English and Kannada signages, when the Kannada fonts were smaller in size. The police filed First Information Reports (FIRs) and detained over 500 KRV workers on the same day.

The arrested individuals, including Narayana Gowda have been booked under sections 283 (cause danger, obstruction or injury to any person), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 427 (mischief), 341 (wrongful restraint), and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. After being produced before the court, the accused were remanded to judicial custody until January 10.

After Gowda’s arrest, enraged KRV activists expressed their anger towards Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, alleging that he was "harassing" Kannada activists. They declared their intent to besiege the Chief Minister's residence until Narayana Gowda is released, and all charges against him are dropped.

The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike has been advocating the implementation of a Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) order from 2019 which mandates that 60% of signage space of establishments should be in Kannada. This directive is based on the civic body’s Outdoor Signage and Public Messaging Bye-Laws of 2018.

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