On September 26, Bengaluru is set to witness a significant protest as residents and activists rally against the Karnataka government’s contentious decision to allocate Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. The source of this mounting tension stems from the recent directive by the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), mandating Karnataka to extend the release of 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for an additional 15 days.
The Karnataka cabinet said they will decide on sharing water with Tamil Nadu on September 26 during the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee’s next meeting. Pro-Kannada groups and farmers are planning a Bengaluru shutdown on the same day to protest the government’s decision. They’re also considering a statewide shutdown in Karnataka on the same date, with a decision to be made in a meeting today. This shows their strong disagreement with the government’s stance.
The Bengaluru bandh on September 26 is organized by Kurubur Shanthakumar, the president of the Karnataka Water Conservation Committee. He made this announcement due to concerns over the Cauvery issue. On the other hand, pro-Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj had called for a bandh on September 25, independently from Shanthakumar. They had a meeting to decide on a final date, and even though they discussed making an announcement on September 25, Shanthakumar stuck with his decision for the bandh on September 26.
Shanthakumar has asked schools, colleges, IT companies, and the film chamber to support the bandh by declaring a holiday. He has also urged the state government to call a special assembly session to discuss the Cauvery water dispute. Furthermore, there’s a planned protest march from Town Hall to Mysuru Bank Circle at 11 am on September 26, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has expressed their support for the bandh as well.
Several services are expected to be disrupted during the ‘Bengaluru Bandh.’ The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bus services may be impacted as the KSRTC Staff and Workers Federation have endorsed the bandh.
Additionally, private cab services, including Ola and Uber, are likely to be affected, as the Ola, Uber Drivers and Owners Association President, Tanveer Pasha, has expressed support for the bandh and declared that drivers will not operate on Tuesday in solidarity with the protest. Pasha emphasized the importance of the issues at hand, stating that there would be no compromise on matters related to land, language, and water.
In the domain of education, despite Private schools union general secretary Shashikumar’s announcement of support by wearing black bands on their arms, many schools and colleges have not confirmed a holiday declaration yet. The final decision on this matter is expected to be reached today.
Meanwhile, the impact of the ‘Bengaluru Bandh’ will also reverberate through the restaurant and commercial sectors. Hotel and restaurant associations have unequivocally declared their support for the bandh and have committed to closing their establishments on Tuesday. In a show of solidarity, they have urged all restaurant owners across the city to join them in keeping their establishments shut for the day.
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited will operate metro services throughout the city on Tuesday, with no disruptions expected on any line of Namma metro in Bengaluru. Emergency service vehicles, including ambulances and pharmaceutical transport, as well as essential goods-carrying vehicles, will remain operational. Hospitals and medical stores will also maintain their regular operations.