Fifteen demonstrators, who were arrested on charges of vandalism in shops in Bangalore, have been released from jail after obtaining bail. Kannada supporters are demanding the release of other arrested individuals as well.

In Bangalore, 15 activists associated with the Kannada Rakshana Vedike, who were involved in vandalizing shops, were released from jail late last night after securing bail. The organization’s leader, Narayan Gouda, and over 40 others are still in custody. These individuals face allegations of causing public property damage, issuing threats, and obstructing the police from performing their duties. Kannada supporters have issued a warning that if Narayan Gouda and others are not released soon, a major protest will be organized in Bangalore.

Government to Introduce Order

Meanwhile, in Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, while emphasizing the display of information in the Kannada language on signboards, warned on Thursday that those taking the law into their own hands would face action. He stated that opposition is permissible, but causing damage to government or public property should not be tolerated. The Chief Minister also mentioned that the government would introduce an order to ensure that 60% of space on signboards and nameplates is dedicated to the Kannada language. This order will come into effect from February 28, 2024. He added that the government would also amend Section 17(6) of the Karnataka Language (Comprehensive Development) Act 2022, introduced by the previous BJP government just before the March 10, 2023, assembly elections.

CM Asserts Action Against Lawbreakers

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, after a meeting with officials from the Kannada Language and Culture Department and Bengaluru municipal agencies, told reporters, “People need to follow the rules, and if anyone overlooks them, they will have to face the consequences. I am making this clear to everyone. I appeal to all organizations and activists not to take the law into their own hands.”

Violence by Kannada Supporters

It should be noted that on Wednesday, Kannada Rakshana Vedike activists engaged in vandalism at shops and commercial establishments where signboards, advertisements, and nameplates were not in the Kannada language. Demonstrators targeted shops displaying signage in English on MG Road, Brigade Road, Lavelle Road, UB City, Chamrajpet, Chikpet, Kempegowda Road, Gandhi Nagar, St. Mark’s Road, and Cunningham Road.

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