The organizations had called for a bandh demanding a ban on all activities of the Maharashtra Integration Committee. The committee is demanding the merger of Belagavi, a Marathi-speaking region of Karnataka, with Maharashtra.
Various organizations led by Kannada Okkuta leader Vatal Nagaraj met Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai this evening following which the bandh was announced to be called off.
However, the organization will organize a protest rally at the town hall of the city at 10:30 am on Friday, demanding a ban on the activities of the Maharashtra Integration Committee. A similar demonstration was also done by Karnataka Rakshana Vedike today.
After meeting the chief minister, Nagaraj told reporters, “On the request of the chief minister and various pro-Kannada leaders, I have decided to back down. There will be no bandh tomorrow, we have withdrawn the bandh, but we will protest.
“The Chief Minister has assured that his government will make every effort to ban Maharashtra Integration Committee within the ambit of the law and requested to withdraw the bandh. Today in the day, leaders of many organizations requested me to postpone the bandh, saying that it may cause problems to the people during the new year.
Chief Minister Bommai said that he discussed all the issues with Nagaraj and others and everyone has similar views regarding the interest of Kannada, Kannada speaking people and Karnataka. He thanked the organizations for withdrawing the bandh.
Regarding the demand for ban on Maharashtra Integration Committee, Chief Minister Bommai said, “All those issues were discussed, I have already said publicly that the government is considering it in legal form. I told this thing to them too.”
However, another leader from Kannada Okkuta, Sa Ra Govindu, clarified that only yesterday’s bandh has been called off and will convene a meeting to decide the future course of action in case the Maharashtra integration committee’s demand for a ban is not met.
Another leader indicated that they may call a bandh on January 22 if the demands are not met.
Significantly, various organizations led by Kannada Okkuta leader Vatal Nagaraj had called for a statewide bandh last week on December 31. They are demanding a complete ban on the activities of Maharashtra Integration Committee in the state for ‘anti-Karnataka and anti-Kannada activities’.
The demand comes amid the burning of the Kannada flag in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur and the destruction of a statue of historical figure Sangoli Rayanna in Belagavi. It is alleged that Maharashtra Integration Committee is behind both the incidents.
The Marathi organization Maharashtra Integration Committee has been demanding the merger of Belagavi, the Marathi-speaking region of Karnataka, with the state for a long time.
However, various organizations such as Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC), Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), Bruhat Bangalore Hotel Association, Auto School and College Association, Shopping Mall Association and many other business establishments have extended the bandh only as moral support and said That they will not participate in the bandh and continue their normal business.
Business establishments have cited good business on the new year as the reason for not supporting the bandh.
At present, the situation is that Praveen Shetty faction of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, which is supporting the bandh called by Vatal Nagaraj, has also changed their stand and demanded the withdrawal of the bandh.