Karnataka is bracing up for a day-long shutdown on Monday by thousands of farmers and others across the southern state in protest against the controversial farmers' bills passed by the Centre and the state government last week.
"We have tightened the security and deployed additional police personnel in cities and towns across the state and stepped up vigil to prevent untoward incidents during the shutdown," a state home ministry official told IANS here.
In an effort to prevent the shutdown, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa urged the farmers to withdraw the shutdown call, as it would disrupt normal life and cause inconvenience to thousands of people in Covid times.
"As the bandh (shutdown) is uncalled for, I appeal to farmers and others to withdraw their call and discuss their problems with us," Yediyurappa told reporters here.
The chief minister, however, said measures are being taken to ensure normal life is not affected and people are able to go to work by operating public services like buses and metro rail in the city.
The state legislative assembly on Saturday night passed the controversial bills to amend the APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee) Act and the Land Reforms Act amidst protest and walkout by the opposition Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) members.
The ryots and other organisations are also protesting against the farmers' bills passed in Parliament last week, as they are alleged to be against their interests and welfare.
Rejecting the chief minister's appeal, about 50 farmers' associations and other supporting organisations said they would observe the shutdown and court arrest in hundreds if the police disrupt their protest rallies and sit-in demonstrations against the state and central bills.
Though the chief minister explained to the farm leaders at a meeting here on Friday that the amendments to the APMC were to double their income by allowing them to sell their produce for the best price they get anywhere in the state or country, they refused to withdraw the shutdown call.
Terming the shutdown call illegal and against the Supreme Court orders, state revenue minister R. Ashok said state government and private offices would be open and public transport services like buses, autos and taxis would operate to ensure commuting.
"Strict action will be taken against those forcing people to observe bandh or disrupting normal life. Police has been told to ensure peace and maintain law and order across the state," asserted Ashok.
Though the agitating organisations have exempted essential supplies and services from the dawn-to-dusk shutdown, private transport services like autos, taxis and buses are likely to stay away, as their unions are supporting the shutdown.
"Thousands of farmers, labourers, workers, traders and rural people will observe the shutdown by staging protest rallies and demonstrations against the state and central governments for their anti-farmer bills," Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangh (farmers' association) president Kodihalli Chandrashekar told reporters here.
The state government, however, failed to get the bill to amend the labour laws passed through the legislative council on Saturday though it secured approval in the assembly on Friday where the ruling BJP has majority.
"In the 75-member council, 14 members voted in favour of the Industrial Disputes and Certain Other Laws amendment bill, while 26 members of the Congress and the JD-S opposed it, causing embarrassment to the ruling BJP.