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Bhatkal: Bhatkal National Highway was blocked for 10 minutes during Karnataka Bandh on Saturday, which was called by Pro-Kannada outfits to protest against the Cauvery River Authority demanding the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
A protest rally was taken out jointly by Shri Bhuwaneshwari Kannada Sangha, Jaya Karnataka Sangha and other Pro-Kannada outfits from Old Bus Stand to AC Office passing through the Shamsuddin Circle. When the protesters reached the AC office, it came to their notice that AC was not available and so they asked the Tahsildar to accept their memorandum. But unfortunately, even the Tahsildar was not available at Bhatkal.
Angry protestors demanded that the Bhatkal Assistant Commissioner or the Tahsildar should immediately come to their respective offices and accept the memorandum at the earliest. But it was known that both the officers were busy with attending the election meeting which was called by Deputy Commissioner at Karwar.
When both the officers were unable to reach the place, the angry protesters staged a dharna and sat outside the AC office and chanted slogans against the Central Government.
Later angry protestors also blocked the National Highway outside the AC Office, because both the AC and Tahsildar were not present to accept the memorandum.
Due to this the memorandum was submitted to the Assistant of Bhatkal AC on the National Highway itself, after which the protesters dispersed peacefully.
Autorickshaws, Tempos, and Buses were off the road on the National Highway right from morning 6 am, but shops and business establishments were seen with open shutters. Most of the schools and colleges were seen open. Due to unavailability of regular transport services most of the student from outside Bhatkal were unable to attend the colleges.
The students who attended the colleges were also affected by the bandh. Many Students struggled to reach college from Belke, Sarpankatta, and Shiruru and it become equally difficult for them to go back home. Few students were forced to travel in Goods Rickshaws. A large number of students were seen stranded at KSRTC Bus Stand waiting for the transport to reach their destinations.
A clash was also reported near Ranginkatta between auto drivers and the police. It was reported that when few auto drivers forced the other drivers to stop their service, the police interfered. This led to the argument between the police and the auto drivers, and the police thrashed up two auto rickshaw drivers in the process. The beaten drivers who were identified as Prashanth Gurdayya Poojari and Muhammed Ilyas, both were admitted to Bhatkal Govt hospital.
Sufficient security measures have been taken by the district administration by providing adequate police force. The security has been tightened in the area to avoid any disturbances.