Thousands of farmers blocked roads, held huge rallies and staged demonstrations in cities and towns across Karnataka on Friday against the farm Bills of the Centre and the Bills the state government has proposed to amend the APMC Act and Land Reforms Act."We have participated in 'Bharat bandh' to protest against the farm Bills of the Centre and the Bills of the state government to amend the APMC Act and the Land Reforms Act as they are against our welfare," Federation of Farmers Associations' president Kuruburu Shanthakumar said here.Police, however, whisked away the agitating farmers and others from main road junctions and check posts, as they were blocking the vehicular traffic and causing gridlocks in cities and towns.Hundreds of farm labourers, trade unions, workers and members of the Left parties joined the protesting farmers and courted arrest in Bengaluru, Mandya, Mysuru and other cities and towns across the southern state.Sugarcane growers blocked the state and national highways by parking tractors and trucks across roads to prevent vehicular movement for hours during the day till police rushed to the troubled spots and rounded them up.
Police had a tough time in clearing the grid locks by diverting and regulating the vehicular traffic on a working day around Bengaluru and taking the protestors into preventive custody.As a dozen state farmers' associations have called for a Karnataka shutdown on September 28 in protest against the Bills, Chief Minister B.S. Yedyiurappa held talks with their representatives at the state secretariat here and urged them to withdraw the state bandh call."The Chief Minister has agreed to amend a provision in the Bill to amend the Land Reforms Act on the ceiling of landholding per individual. But we told him that the Bills should be withdrawn in toto," Shanthakumar reiterated.Vehicular traffic was also blocked on the Bengaluru-Mysuru state highway at Mandya for hours by farmers in protest against the Bills.Additional police personnel were deployed at road junctions and check posts to prevent untoward incidents and ensure law and order across the state.Protests were also held at Santhemarahalli in Chamarajanagar district, which affected traffic as hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the main roads. Similar protests were staged at Hanur, Gundluet and Kollegal taluks in the border district.