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Members From Karanataka Rakshana Vedika Detained After Vandalism Over Kannada Nameplates

Pro-Kannada activists from the Karnataka Rakshana Vedika were arrested on Wednesday after they vandalised several Bengaluru businesses and demanded that Kannada nameplates be displayed in accordance with local government regulations. A number of videos captured their rage in front of Phoenix Mall of Asia on the streets of Bengaluru went viral. President of Karnataka Rakshana Vedika TN Narayan Gowda said that his group planned a protest march to raise awareness of the government-mandated 60% Kannada on signboard rule. Nameplates with Kannada instead of English, according to some social media postings, were also vandalised.

All business establishments are required by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to display 60% Kannada signage. More than half of a signboard should read in Kannada, according to this guideline. A deadline of February 28 has been given, failing which the shops will be closed and their trade licenses cancelled.

On Wednesday, the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry stated that the government ought not to act before to the deadline. Although the government shouldn’t take any action against establishments before the deadline, the federation stated that it will ask all of its members to abide by the regulation. Many establishments were unaware that the 60% Kannada requirement did not stem from demands made by fringe organisations, but rather was a BBMP rule.

TN Narayan Gowda, president of Karnataka Rakshana Vedika, stated that businesses should relocate from Karnataka if they do not wish to have Kannada names on their signboards. “People from various states are doing business in Bangalore. But they don’t put Kannada nameplates on their shops. They are only putting up the nameplates of their shops in English. If they want to stay back in Bangalore then they have to put nameplates on their shops in Kannada or else they have to move from Karnataka to other states.”

“We told them to put a Kannada nameplate but Mall of Asia (Bangalore) did not bother and has not put a Kannada nameplate so we will fight against this. Today police are providing full protection to the Mall of Asia (Bengaluru), but tomorrow who will provide protection? Tomorrow again our activists will protest, till our demand is fulfilled,” Narayan Gowda said.

After the rampage of the pro-Kannada protestors, chief minister Siddaramaiah said, “I don’t know what they (the protestors) are doing. I have got information that Narayana Gowda is protesting about having Kannada name boards. We will take action against those who took the law into their own hands and went against the law.”

Union minister and Karnataka MP Pralhad Joshi supported the demand of 60% Kannada and questioned why the establishments don’t want Kannada signage, while the Karnataka BJP leaders criticised the Congress government for starting the Kannadiga versus non-Kannadiga controversy in Bengaluru. “Not everyone can read English, but everyone should be able to read the signs. Is there any disadvantage to writing in Hindi, Kannada, English, or another language? It isn’t England, he declared.

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