The ongoing protests against the ban on the night traffic in Bandipur National Park, under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, has been getting no traction from the locals living at the Karnataka border. The ban was instituted on the part of the highway, NH 766 in Sultan Bathery, linking Kerala and Karnataka. The Congress leader and the MP from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi joined the protests on Friday morning to show solidarity with the protesters. Earlier, he had also tweeted in support of the protests and the youth leaders who have been on a hunger strike since September 25.
I stand in solidarity with the youth on an indefinite hunger strike since September 25th protesting against the daily 9 hour traffic ban on NH-766 that has caused immense hardship to lakhs of people in Kerala and Karnataka.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 29, 2019
The Chief Minister of Karnataka, BS Yediyurappa slammed Rahul Gandhi on October 2, for supporting the protests. He said that Rahul should be aware of the Supreme Court orders. “I cannot go against the court's order. The court has already ordered a ban on vehicle entry in Bandipur forest. I think Rahul Gandhi is aware of that. The ban will continue,” he said in Mysuru. According to an ANI report, the locals near Gundlupete, a border village in Karnataka have also said that the ban affects their life, but it should continue. They said that in case of emergencies even they have to use the highway.
Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, has said that he raised this issue in Parliament and he will be raising it legally as well. "There must be no unfairness as far as Wayanad is concerned. Fairness is extremely important. I have spoken to our legal experts and have asked them to help us...We are going to ensure that the best legal resources in the country are available in Wayanad for this issue," Gandhi had said. He also denied commenting on the SC orders as the matter is subjudice.
I am in Wayanad, Kerala to stand in solidarity with the youth who have been on hunger strike, protesting against the travel ban on National Highway 766. Earlier I visited those who have had to be hospitalised, as a result of the prolonged fast. pic.twitter.com/eVqbHWMZJG— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 4, 2019
A local resident said, “We have a connection with Karnataka for several years. We have never had a problem in the past while using NH766. However, now there is a ban. This will hurt the lives of vendors from both sides”. “Our demand is for the road to be opened for night operations. Until then, our protest and hunger strike will continue," added a protester.
(With ANI Inputs)