Bengaluru: Normal life in the country’s IT capital and several parts of Karnataka was crippled on Saturday as a 12-hour statewide bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits to protest Tamil Nadu’s opposition to Mekedatu drinking water project across the river Cauvery, began.
Bus, auto and taxi services were badly hit in Bengaluru, causing hardship to commuters, leaving thousands stranded at many places.
Initial reports said the bandh had evoked a good response in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Tumkuru, Mandya and several other places, where activists of pro-Kannada organisations staged protests.
In Bengaluru, commercial establishments remained closed as also the shopping malls in support of the bandh, which the organisers have claimed has the backing of about 600 to 700 Kannada organisations.
Auto drivers and truck operators and owners of petrol bunks, hotels, restaurants and the film industry are backing the bandh.
The dawn-to-dusk bandh is a show of strength of the people of Karnataka against Tamil Nadu, Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha President Vatal Nagaraj, whose Kannada outfit is spearheading the protest, said.
Buses bound for Tamil Nadu from Bengaluru also did not operate, as also those proceeding to other parts within the state, officials said.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said the government is not supporting the bandh but the state is determined to go ahead with the Mekedatu project and appealed to people to maintain peace.
A protest march is being held later in the day from Town Hall in the city which will culminate at the Freedom Park after which a delegation will meet the Chief Minister and submit him a memorandum demanding that the project be taken up immediately.