Parts of Karnataka witnessed intense protests on Wednesday, a day after Congress troubleshooter and former Karnataka Minister D K Shivakumar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case. While violent protests rocked the outskirts of Bengaluru in places like Kanakapura and Ramnagara, the capital city remained largely calm, with schools and colleges open and offices functioning normally.
Congress workers held a protest near the Gandhi statue in Mourya Circle, alleging “vindictive politics” by the Centre.
Meanwhile, security was beefed up in and around Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s residence in Dollar’s Colony in Bengaluru.
In Ramanagara district, supporters shouted slogans, burned a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus and its tyres, and blocked roads in Chennapattna and Kanakapura. As a precautionary measure, the district administration declared a holiday for schools and colleges. KSRTC was asked to halt operations in the district until permission from the police.
A KSRTC representative told IndianExpress.com that its Chief Traffic Manager and Chief Security and Vigilance Officer were deputed to Ramanagar to monitor its bus operations.
Protesters also blocked the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway at Ijoor Circle, affecting traffic moving towards Mysuru, Mandya, Hassan and Kodagu districts. Vehicles were diverted to Magadi, Huliyurudurga and Madduru instead.
KSRTC buses vandalised in Karnataka
There have been numerous incidents of KSRTC buses being vandalised across the state. On Tuesday night, protests pelted stones at least 10 buses in Satanur, Shivakumar’s hometown.
On Wednesday, a bus of Kanakapura depot was completely burnt in Chunchi Colony. Another bus at Harohalli depot was also set on fire.
KSRTC Fly Bus operations in Bengaluru, however, were functioning normally. Speaking to IndianExpress.com, KSRTC Public Relations Officer Latha T S said, “KSRTC Fly Bus operations from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport to other parts of the state are normal. Fly Bus services to Mysore are now operated via Nelamangala, Kunigal, Bellur Cross, Pandavapura.”
The Karnataka unit of the Congress had announced a state-wide bandh Wednesday in protest of Shivakumar’s arrest.
The case registered by the ED last year is the fallout of an investigation carried out by the Income Tax Department against Shivakumar in 2017 where Rs 8.83 crore in unaccounted cash was found in New Delhi in locations linked to the Congress leader. The ED had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar and others based on a chargesheet filed by the IT department for alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions.