Bharat Bandh hits normal life in Karnataka

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Bengaluru : The day-long nationwide shutdown or Bharat bandh on Monday against rising fuel prices called by the Congress affected normal life in Karnataka as public transport kept off the roads across the state.

"There is an overwhelming response from the public to our shutdown call as petrol and diesel price hike affects all, especially the poor," a Congress spokesman told IANS here.

Schools and colleges were closed although state and central government offices remained open.

In Bengaluru, global software firms like Infosys and Wipro functioned normally.

With the ruling Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supporting its ally Congress on the bandh, their cadres as well as activists of the pro-Kannada organisations like Kannada Vedica Paksha (KVP) were seen forcing restaurants, shops and fuel stations to remain shut at least till 3 p.m.

Many theatres, multiplexes and malls did not open for business. Bank transactions were hit.

"We have not opened for business for the day to avoid damage to our property caused by frenzied mobs," a tea vendor told IANS here.

The shutdown, however, did not affect flight or train services in Bengaluru and Mysuru though passengers faced harrowing time at the airport and railway stations in the absence of buses, cabs and autos.

About 1,000 cadres and supporters of the JD-S and Congress staged a massive demonstration at the Town Hall here and took out a protest rally to the Freedom Park through main roads, which had less vehicular traffic on a working day due to the shutdown.

Emergency services, including hospitals and medical shops, were exempted from the bandh.