Bengaluru: Protests and rallies by farmers' bodies and opposition parties marked the Karnataka bandh on Monday against amendments to two state legislation related to the farm sector, while Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said he was ready to talk to the royts and allay their fears.
The shutdown call evoked a mixed response and though markets were open, buses and metro trains were operated, the turnout was relatively low.
The dawn-to-dusk bandh called by the Karnataka Raitha Sangha (farmers' association) and other farmer organizations was supported by the Congress, JD(S), Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), and the Left parties.
Amid heavy police deployment, the protesters, waving party flags and raising slogans against the amendments to the APMC and land reforms acts courted arrest.
Parts of the state, including the capital city, saw massive protests with public squares teeming with protesters.
Tyres were set ablaze at some places to mark their opposition.
Ignoring social distancing norms to contain the spread of coronavirus, farmers hit the streets in groups at many locations, raised slogans, took out bike rallies, and staged demonstrations.
In Bengaluru, farmers and Karnataka Rakshana Vedike members, including its chief T A Narayana Gowda, took out a rally and tried to stop buses when they were arrested.
The demonstrations were against the Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) Bill and the Karnataka Land Reforms (Second Amendment) Bill passed in the Assembly on Saturday.
The amendment to the land reforms act lifts restrictions on purchasing agricultural land and enables any individual to buy them. Earlier, the law permitted only farmers to purchase agricultural land in the state.
The APMC amendment curtails the powers of local Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) and allows private individuals to start agricultural trading if they hold a permanent account number (PAN).
Seeking to allay fears of farmers, the Chief Minister said: "sit with us and have a discussion. I am always ready to make changes for the benefit of farmers."
He said the amendments to the two acts were aimed at benefiting the farmers and not the way projected by certain people.
Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Siddaramaiah claimed the amendments were unnecessary.
"Both the amendments will have a deadly effect on the farmers," he alleged during the agitation staged by his party in the city.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, Randeep Singh Surjewala, asked the Chief Minister to repeal the 'draconian amendments' instead of banning the bandh.
"Dear BS Yediyurappa Ji, Instead of banning the Farmers #Karnataka Bandh, 'ban' & 'banish' the anti-farmer- laborer mindset. Withdraw the law & apologize for the blatant sell out by BJP on Land Reforms Bill. Repeal the draconian amendments to APMC Act. This is your litmus test!" he tweeted.
The protesters alleged that the amendments would ruin agriculture as people with "moneybags" would purchase farmlands to convert their "black money into white."
The agitations coincided with the nationwide protests against the three farm bills.
Ramanagara, Mandya, Mysuru, Chamarajanagara, Kolar, Chikkaballapura, Tumakuru, Ballari, Raichur, Chitradurga, Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Bagalkote were among the places that saw protests.
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Mangaluru:Former Congress MLA Mohiuddin Bava on Wednesday claimed he received a call from an unknown person objecting to his participation in the ongoing Navaratri celebrations at a temple here.
Bava, who had represented from Mangaluru North segment, said he has lodged a police complaint about it.
The Congress leader said he visited the Gurupura Ambika Annapoorneshwari temple at Bajpe here and took part in the rituals following an invite by its priest.
Later, he got a call from a man, who identified himself as Anil from Mumbai and raised objections to his visit, saying It's not Nehru period, it's a Modi period, Bava alleged.
"A Muslim should not go to the temple, a beef eater and Muslim should not visit temple," the caller had told him, he claimed, adding the conversation was recorded by him.
Bava said he told the caller that he went to the temple on invitation and added he had not differentiated between communities in his political life.