Skip to Content

Forced bandhs

452 users have liked.

Karnataka has a legitimate grievance that its drinking water woes will worsen on the Supreme Court enforced release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Just as Tamil Nadu has a genuine case that without this release its samba crop would be in danger.

It’s a thorny dispute, with the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award of 2007 that itself was 16 years in the making still waiting adjudication in the court, and the tribunal’s suggested Cauvery Management Board still to take birth. The idea of this board is that every year it would disperse the river water between sharing states, based on a professional assessment of actual flows and need – not nativist passions.

Look at what these passions have wrought in Karnataka. In July it was the interim order of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal favouring Goa that had set off bandhs. This time so-called pro-Kannada groups have punished traffic and films from Tamil Nadu as if it was a warring country. But above all they have punished Karnataka.

Burnt tires lined the roads while shops, schools, businesses, etc were forced to down shutters. Work in courts, hospitals and government offices was also hit as people simply couldn’t commute. People were forced to miss trains and flights. The key word is, forced. This is not a bandh but thuggish bullying. As much as it damages the bigger establishments, it’s brutal to the low income workers – laborers, riksha drivers, small shopkeepers …

For the full text of the column, written in a frank and forthright manner, by Renuka Bisht in the ToI, click here.

Following are the excerpts from a related ToI report (for the full text, click here):

Every major office in the city was closed, but for those segments ­ such as global 24x7 customer support services and other mission critical projects ­ that just can't afford to shut down.

- - - IBM made all necessary arrangements for mission-critical staff, including arranging for overnight stay in the office. The company had arranged transport so that these employees could get to work before the bandh commenced.

Offices of Accenture and Cognizant remained closed, but they activated their business continuity plans which included transport and other arrangement for critical staff. Sources told TOI that some Thomson Reuters employees reached the office before 5am Friday and some were advised to work from home.

Accessible here is a video clip showing how the Accenture office in Koramangala, where just the "global 24x7 customer support services and other mission critical projects" staff, forming less than 1% of the total work force, was forcibly vacated by the bandh protagonists, led by a certain "Keerthi". Though, he is seen to be "pleading" with everyone, very clearly, there's the element of threat of violence in case you choose to exercise your democratic right to defy his dictat (He even goes on to give a lecture to the employees, towards the end of it all, taking on a self-righteous and moralistic position. The fact of the matter may be that he would very much have liked to trade places with the employees, but since for whatever reasons he could not pursue his studies, he now has to resort to such ways to find his place under the sun). The security lot, as also the police lot, are all fully aware of it, and since there is a tacit support to it all from the government, there's very little anyone can do about it all other than to comply.

Even more disconcerting are the comments by some of the employees themselves over the whole episode, accessible here.

This is of a piece with the general view of the non-IT world towards the IT lot (check here), and unfortunately of some of the IT lot themselves too. The IT sector has provided millions of decently paying jobs to the educated youth of the country, if not for which we would have had a serious 'naxalite' situation all across, which, given the size of our population, would then have then degenerated into something like ISIS scenario in the middle-east. The spin-offs have benefited the other sectors too.

Besides, if we are to utilise the demographic dividend, we are supposed to be enjoying and thereby provide jobs to the millions of youth passing out of our colleges, we need fresh investments. However, these kinds of forced bandhs will scare them away altogether. Across the world, economic growth has tended to happen in the big cities, which then become mega cities, simultaneously spurring infrastructure development too. Unfortunately, in Bengaluru, there hasn't been any co-ordinated urban planning effort, unlike even in a Mumbai or a Delhi, and we are paying a huge price for it all.

There are solutions to the Cauvery issue, some leads to them may be accessed here. Hopefully, the likes of Keerthi would like to persuade the government to look at them - that's the kind of leadership that's required today.

Muralidhar Rao


murali772's picture

"Rakshanae" that Karnataka needs is from this lot

160 users have liked.

On Monday, Bengaluru saw for itself how Kannada activism has been hijacked. The preserve of intellectuals till the 1980s, it has progressively been lumpenised. Drawing on the Shiv Sena model of sub-nationalism and extortion to fuel itself, it culminated in manic Monday when competing groups out to control Bengaluru decided to log it out of its global image as India's Silicon Valley.

- - - Over the past few years, several fringe groups have spread their tentacles in Bengaluru, in the garb of protecting Kannadiga pride. Carrying the red and yellow Kannada flag, the bigger groups are Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Jaya Karnataka, Kannada Okkoota and Kannada Sena. But as the workload to carry out assignments grew, they have also grown amoeba-like into several smaller branches, available for a hit on speed dial.

- - - It now transpires that the Karnataka bandh on Friday was largely a Nagaraj and Karnataka Rakshana Vedike show, both scoring high on TRPs of a different kind — Turmoil Rating Points. With the Vedike and Jaya Karnataka in direct competition to control Bengaluru, Monday's violence was the result of competition between these fringe groups taking its toll on the city.

- - - Over the years, these fringe groups, emboldened by political protection, freelance for anyone who wants to use their services for a cause or against a rival. Many of them are known to run protection services, like mafia gangs, dividing Bengaluru into zones and areas. They also make their money on big-ticket land deals. Which is why the red and yellow flag today is used by shopkeepers not as a symbol of pride in being a Kannadiga but more to ward off troublemakers.

Senior police officers say this "parallel policing ends up enhancing the brand equity of these hoodlum gangs". Contrast it with how Bengaluru's brand equity has taken a hit with images of arson going viral. The fear factor that Monday has created, most feel, will come in handy when the groups go to collect funds from commercial establishments in the run-up to Karnataka Rajyotsav (Karnataka Formation Day) on 1 November.

The present situation gives Karnataka police an excellent opportunity to purge Bengaluru of these elements. All it needs to do is to seize the cellphones of those detained, peruse their call records, find out who called who in the 72 hours between Friday and Monday and connect the dots. The question is whether the black sheep in the political establishment will greenlight the action plan.

For the full text (emphasis added by me) of a candid report in the Huffington Post, click here.

More than the water, traffic and such problems, the biggest one the city faces appears to be from this lot. Now, for all of the clout they seem to wield, they drew a blank in the Municipal elections, where they contested a sizable number of seats. As such, if the government can get its act together, there should not be any problem for the police to manage any situation, however difficult, even given the constraints they are working under.

But, going by the following excerpts from ToI (for the full text, click here), the government appears more to be trying to pass the buck

Miffed with his police chiefs for mishandling the situation, chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday afternoon reprimanded them for sullying `Brand Bengaluru' and directed them to deal with vandals with an iron fist. Convening a meeting of senior police officers, including director general and inspector general of police (DG&IGP) Om Prakash and police commissioner N S Megharikh after the cabinet meeting here, Siddaramaiah warned them that `heads will roll' if any fresh incidents of violence are reported in Bengaluru.

- - - "Some think that the police force was ordered to go slow with regard to the crackdown against arsonists, but that is not true," claimed officials in the chief minister's office (CMO). Senior bureaucracy conducted a critical analysis of the sequence of events that triggered and escalated violence and the results pointed to failures on both political and police fronts.

Cops blamed the political machinery for lack of clarity. A police officer explained: "Several rounds of meetings were held by the chief minister to discuss the Cauvery watersharing issue and the police chiefs were hardly involved in the deliberations. Even in the meeting convened on September 6 by the CM to discuss the Supreme Court's order, home minister G Parameshwara wasn't present. This sends conflicting signals to the police force. With the Cauvery issue taking emotional turns we didn't know how to react.If the political bosses had come out in the open and condemned the violence when it was escalating, we could have been more aggressive in quelling the violence."

Another ToI report ( full text accessible here):

Upset with the manner in which top cops handled the Cauvery protests in the western and northern parts of the city , chief minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday transferred DCP (north) TR Suresh and DCP (west) Ajay Hilori.

Clearly, shows the Siddaramaiah government in poor light.

Muralidhar Rao
tvidya's picture

Cuvery issue

176 users have liked.

 I agree that injustice is done to Karnataka while Supreme Court asked to release CAUVERY water beyond our capacity.  But it does not call for street fights, destructions by hooligans who know nothing about the technicality.

I have a few questions

  1. How come our technical team could not provide data to 7 star Lawyers on various aspects like  current levels of water in storage systems ( SS ) of both the states.
  2. Anticipated  inflow to SS of both states  considering that rainy season for   Tamilnadu  will be from October and our rainy season is ending in September
  3. How come a 7star lawyer is continuing to represent Karnataka in Cauvery water dispute when he represented Amma in disproportion asset case?
  4. How come our lawyers allowed .a particular judge who was a lawyer for Amma ?.
  5. How the strikes bundhs can get justice when top judiciary has given its verdict.?
  6. How can Govt give permission /allow bundh to take place, causing immense losses, destruction  and inconveniences?
  7. Public vote a Govt to power and assumes that their taxes are spent judiciously. Who allowed them to transfer this power and authority to some hooligans/fringe leaders   who have no control over the grass root rowdy elements?  They are greatly antisocial elements.Who will pay Rs 25000/- crore lost due to bundh and related acts?.

Finally Govt should take written assurance / affidavit from organisers of bundh /strikes that they will compensate the LOSSES  occurring due to bundh/strikes as Govt is merely the custodians of public money collected  through taxes.   



murali772's picture

Stories of thuggery and cowardice, on the one hand - -

154 users have liked.

Petrol bombs hurled at two KPN Travels buses led to an inferno, damaging 42 vehicles by the time firemen could control the flames. A few drivers and other staff members resting at the company's parking bay in D'Souza Nagar were also beaten up.

- - - Those who witnessed the violence are yet to digest what happened on Monday evening. "A mob of more than 100 youngsters entered the parking lot and began abusing us. It looked like they came well prepared to assault us. By the time we could explain anything, they had already torched the buses and we had to run for our lives," recalled Ansar
(KPN manager)

Locals said Monday's violence was not just about the Cauvery issue. "Some organizations wanted the travels to part with funds for Ganesha festival. But they were turned down. And then there was ransom demands too. When nothing worked, they used this opportunity to get back at us. Cops could do little to help us," added Ansar.

For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here

It should not be difficult for the police to identify the perpetrators, on the ground, and the instigators, who, using the social media and other means, goaded them to cause this kind of a havoc. As stated in the Huffington Post report (cited in my post of yesterday, under the caption "rakshanae that Karnataka needs is from this lot", scrolling above) "the present situation gives Karnataka police an excellent opportunity to purge Bengaluru of these elements". One hopes the Police, backed fully by the government, ensures that these elements never again dare resort to such acts in future.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

- - and bravery and humanity, on the other

154 users have liked.

Excerpts from the same ToI report cited in the earlier post:

On Tuesday morning, when TOI visited KPN Travels parking lot, which was closely gaurded by the police, KP Natarajan, a businessman from Salem in Tamil Nadu, was busy assessing the damage in the presence of fire department officials and police. "We are yet to arrive at a final figure. It'll take some time as around 42 buses stationed inside and outside the parking lot have been completely damaged," said Natarajan.

Ansar, a senior staffer with KPN Travels, said the company operates luxury buses at night to various destinations in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and Karnataka and has been in the business since 1972. "Each bus costs Rs 40-50 lakh. The total damage (just buses) is likely to cross Rs 20 crore. We will get the insurance amount as all the vehicles were insured. But what about the business loss we'll incur till we get new vehicles?" asked Ansar.

Beyond all of that, all that Mr K P Natarajan had to say was "Both the state governments should come forward and instill confidence among people. If the government ensures there'll be no more incidence of violence, we will come forward and continue our services. We'll try replacing the buses in 40 days" (check here for that ToI report).  

Amazing spirit of the man in the face of such adversity - hat's off to him. I'd like to request "Namma Bengaluru Foundation" to add a new category of "non-Kannadiga entrepreneurs contributing to Karnataka's overall ecenomic growth" for their awards this year onwards. My nominee for this year would be Mr Natarajan, of course.

And, my nominee in a category "for nurturing overall Social harmony" (I expect there's one like that) would be Mr B Shivanna, whose exemplary deeds are cited in the following excerpts a New Indian Express report (full text accessible here).

A proud Kannadiga, B Shivanna, who runs his own transportation business in the City, went out of his way to help 31 drivers cross the Karnataka border and enter Hosur by transporting them in his vehicle.

Muralidhar Rao
abidpqa's picture

Forced bandh

171 users have liked.

If I don't go to office for a bandh I support, will it be considered as exercising my political freedom or indiscipline. If I am dismissed from work considering extreme situation, what does govt do to care for my basic needs? The forced bandh phenomenon is evolving situation.

murali772's picture

shaming the sacred Karnataka colours

161 users have liked.

The state government on Saturday transferred the bus burning case to the Criminal Investigation Department as there were many loose ends and unanswered questions in the incident.

- - - City police commissioner NS Megharikh told STOI that 141 cases relating to rioting were registered across the city and 445 persons have been arrested so far.

For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the ToI, click here.

Now, it's not clear if the red/ yellow (or, more like crimson/ turmeric) colour combination (and flags thereof) symbolise the Karnataka government officially. Either way, if there's any sanctity to it, official or otherwise, the government needs to ensure that its rampant present day mis-use is curbed totally.

And, as for the lot involved in the KPN bus burning case, the police should even consider charging them under the Goonda Act, so that a clear message goes out that you cannot get away easily for deeds such as that.

Muralidhar Rao
blrpraj's picture

animals are a superior species

160 users have liked.
I recently saw a FB video where famous actor Prakash Rai gives a message about maintaining peace during the Cuavery riots and NOT BEHAVE like ANIMALS.
So, i wrote back on that very post - PLEASE; let's not insult animals and let's
try to behave like Animals instead and in fact learn from them. Fellow readers, ready to
pounce on me and call me MAD & mentally retarded ? Then so be it; but please have
the patience to hear me out by reading on and you will understand my logic.
Have you ever seen 2 elephants fighting over leaves/foliage/vegetation to eat?
Have you ever seen cows fighting over grass for eating? Cows are vegetarian so you will never see
them fight over something like meat which they are not interested in (point being that they don't fight irrationally
and they make every attempt to share harmoniously in things that they are interested in)
Have you ever seen 2 lions fight over a dead animal? And being non vegetarian they don't irrationally fight over let's
say carrots or cabbage.
Have you ever seen camels fight over water?
But human beings are the only species what fight over land, water, oil, gold, skin color, religion, language, for political power, over money etc. etc. the list goes on and much that we can never comprehensively cover the list of things that humans fight over. It just makes me sad;the whole thing. Is this what we call progress and being the most superior and smartest of species? We have polluted our land, water (rivers, oceans etc.) & air. Destroyed almost all species and their natural homes
by out populating them and then fight & kill over resources that were given to us by the very nature we are destroying.
And last but not the least, we are the only species with heavily armed militaries possesing WMDs to destory earth a 100 times over. 
The best part is; my friend's 8 year old son asked his dad (my friend) a very innocent question - Papa, cauvery river has
been given to us by mother nature and it's flowing as intended by nature. Then why are people fighting over it? Why not
nature be nature and share the water? A stunning question with a ton of innocent wisdom from an 8 year old which definitely cannot be
understood by 99% of mandkind. This question left me speechless and wanted to share it in this forum. 
My foolish fellow earthlings; stop fighting because very soon there will be no tommorrow to fight over. Learn to share and live
in harmony with nature. comment guidelines

Posting Guidelines apply for comments as well. No foul language, hate mongering or personal attacks. If criticizing third person or an authority, you must be fact based, as constructive as possible, and use gentle words. Avoid going off-topic no matter how nice your comment is. Moderators reserve the right to either edit or simply delete comments that don't meet these guidelines. If you are nice enough to realize you violated the guidelines, please save Moderators some time by editing and fixing yourself. Thanks!

about seo | blog