Karnataka braces for Thursday shutdown
With the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka extending support to the nationwide shutdown Thursday, the police has been put on high alert to maintain law and order across the state. About 17,000 policemen have been deputed in the capital alone.
"We have made elaborate security arrangements in cities and district headquarters across the state and deployed adequate forces in uniform and plainclothes to maintain vigil and prevent any untoward incident during the bandh (shutdown) tomorrow (Thursday)," state Director General of Police (DGP) Lalrokhuma Pachau told IANS here late Wednesday.
The day-long shutdown has been called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and other opposition parties to protest against the recent hike in diesel price, cap on supply of subsidised cooking gas cylinders and for allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail sector by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
"We have taken pre-cautionary measures to ensure the shutdown will be peaceful and nobody will be intimated to join the protest or disrupt normal life. Protest rallies, processions and sit-in demonstrations will be allowed to be staged peacefully but stern action will be taken against trouble-makers and mischief-mongers," Pachau asserted.
In view of the 10-day Ganesh festival beginning Wednesday, security has been enhanced with additional deployment of reserved and armed police across cities, including Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli, Belgaum and Gulbarga across the state.
"We are on guard and intensified patrolling in sensitive areas, check-posts and inter-state borders. Special watch is being kept on vital installations and dense localities, including markets, railway stations, bus terminals and airport," Pachau said.
In India's bustling tech hub, besides IT bellwethers Infosys and Wipro, hundreds of IT firms, including multinationals have declared holiday as a precautionary measure and to avoid inconvenience to its techies in the absence of transport service.
"We have declared holiday for Thursday as a precautionary measure and working Saturday (Sept 22) in lieu of," spokespersons for Infosys and Wipro told IANS.
Though state-run road transport corporations maintain that bus service will be normal, three-wheeler auto and taxi unions have decided to keep their vehicles off the roads from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in support of the shutdown.
With the ruling party (BJP) urging industries, transport organisations and commercial establishments, including private offices, shops, markets, hotels, malls and theatres to participate in the shutdown for forcing the central government to roll back its anti-people measures, normal life will be severely affected in Bangalore and other cities and towns across the state.
Educational institutions will also remain shut as a precautionary measure and in the absence of transport service.
"We have left the decision to the respective schools and colleges to declare holiday or not keeping in view the situation," a state department official said.
According to Additional Police Commissioner (Law & Order) T. Sunil Kumar, about 17,000 policemen have been put on duty across Bangalore to ensure peaceful shutdown.
"We are also deploying about 30 platoons of state reserved police and city armed reserve across the city to enhance security," Kumar noted.
Essential services, including supply of milk, water, vegetables and fruits and commodities of daily use will be exempted from the shutdown.