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`Response reflects concern of people'

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: The bandh call given by Kannada organisations on Wednesday was total and by and large peaceful. Is this an indicator of the concern of people for language and border issues? Or does it point to a set of other factors, ranging from fear of violence and the anxiety to be seen as pro-Kannada?

K.M. Marulasiddappa, well-known Kannada critic and writer, feels that the success of the bandh stems from people's genuine concern for the issue of language and regional identity. The fact that the bandh was peaceful, in stark contrast to the violence surrounding the Cauvery issue, is an indicator of people's support for the issue, he adds.

Concurring with him, the former Chief Minister M. Veerappa Moily and president of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat Chandrashekhar Patil feel that the success of the bandh is linked to language being a "unifying force" that cuts across barriers of narrow political ideologies.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary G.N. Nagaraj, however, feels that the reasons for the bandh's success are complex. Anxiety about the shrinking space for Kannada combined with an accentuating economic and digital between people are two crucial factors at play, he says. The special session in Belgaum and the media attention it drew, he feels, created the right ambience for the bandh. The "covert support" of the State Government was another important factor. He, in fact, feels that the ruling coalition took this opportunity to divert people's attention from crucial economic and social issues.

Subroto Bagchi, COO of the Bangalore-based international consulting company, MindTree Consulting, says that his company decided to declare a holiday because they wanted to be "safe than sorry."

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