At least 100 pro-Kannada outfits began a day-long shutdown on Thursday, February 13, affecting normal life in Karnataka. The Kannada outfits demanding implementation of an over three-decades-old report of a committee on seeking more jobs for Kannadiga youths in the state-run enterprises and the private sectors.
"The 12-hour shutdown across the state is being observed for implementing the Sarojini Mahishi report, which recommended the majority of jobs to Kannadigas in the public sector undertakings, private firms and multinationals across the state," Karnataka Sanghatanegala Okkoota secretary H Nagesh told news agency IANS.
Protesters hurled stones at a Tirupati-Mangaluru bus in Farangipet today while services of app-based cabs like Ola, Uber and autorickshaws were affected. However, state-run buses and trains are operating normally and markets have opened. Schools and colleges are also functioning normally.
"There is no effect of the shutdown on normal life, as schools and colleges are functioning and bus services are operating in Bengaluru and other cities. Government and private offices, hotels, restaurants, eateries, shops and malls will also remain open during the day," a state official said.
Ola, Uber suspend their services
With autorickshaw and taxi associations supporting the dawn-to-dusk shutdown, cab aggregators like Ola and Uber have suspended their services as their drivers have kept off the roads.
"We have deployed additional forces in public places and vital installations in the Bengaluru to prevent any untoward incident. Protest demonstration has been allowed only at Freedom Park in the city. No permission is given to take out rallies or processions to ensure smooth movement of vehicular traffic," a police official said.
State Director General of Police Praveen Sood has directed his officers to maintain law and order and ensure peace across the state during the shutdown.
Farmers' associations, street vendors and trade unions have, however, extended their support to the shutdown.
Yediyurappa appeals to call off the shutdown
State Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa appealed to the protesters to call off the shutdown to avoid causing inconvenience to the public and invited the pro-Kannada organisations for talks at the state secretariat on giving more jobs to Kannadigas in public and private sectors.
State Minister for Kannada and Culture CT Ravi told reporters that the state government was committed to implementing the report on job priority to Kannadigas.
"We have already implemented the report in the government sector. In the private sector, we are trying to implement it step by step. A cabinet decision has been taken to implement it in the private sector too," Ravi asserted.
(With IANS inputs)