The Cauvery “agitation” has seen the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike emerge as a potent force—difficult to agree with but difficult to ignore. Suddenly, the organisation whose biggest claim to fame was tarring the face of Belgaum’s Mayor (for passing a resolution pressing for the transfer of the border-district to Maharashtra), is baring its fangs wherever it feels its intervention is necessary.
In vandalising theatres screening Tamil movies in Bangalore, in smashing the offices of an NGO in Mysore because of an alleged statement made by its convenor, in attacking a bank in Bangalore which sent goondas to recover loans… members of the Vedike have revealed an intemperate—even violent and vigilantist—streak.
Is this brand of Kannadiga assertion good or bad for the State? Does the Vedike represent the people of Karnataka, or is it just a cover for lumpen elements? Are its actions helping or harming Kannadiga identity, and the cause of Kannadigas? Is Kannada safe in its hands? Will such use of force achieve tangible results, or will it destroy the liberal, tolerant and reasonable reputation Kannadigas enjoy? Is the foundation being laid for a political party and will it win popular support?