Violent protests broke out at Hubballi in north Karnataka against candidates from other states appearing for a bank examination today. Hundreds of students from Karnataka boycotted the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection-Regional Rural Bank (IBPS RRB) exam and prevented candidates from other states from taking it. A banking aspirant from Hubballi allegedly attempted suicide by slitting his wrist with a blade, police said. As the situation spun out of control, police said they resorted to a mild lathicharge to disperse the agitating mob. A protester said the “outsiders” were taking away opportunities from the Kannadigas, while state-level leaders were tight-lipped over the issue. She alleged “outsiders” in Grameen Banks not only ignore Kannada, but also impose their language on the Kannada speaking people. A local activist of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, a pro-Kannada outfit, alleged the exam had become a platform to demean the local talent and encourage outsiders. Similar agitations were reported in some other parts of the state too.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh chief secretary Dinesh Kumar discussed the issue with his Karnataka counterpart and requested that necessary arrangements be made to ensure safety of Telugu candidates. Speaking to TV channels in Hubballi, the aggrieved Telugu candidates alleged the locals did not let them write the exam and attacked them. AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu and his deputy N China Rajappa reviewed the situation in the afternoon. Rajappa in a statement said “the attack on Telugu candidates was unfortunate”.
“We are taking up the issue with the Karnataka and central governments to ensure such attacks do not recur. We will also request the Centre to open examination centres in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada,” he said. Pradesh Congress Committee president N Raghuveera Reddy also condemned the alleged attack and said he spoke with Karnataka minister Ramalinga Reddy on the issue. “I asked the Karnataka minister to provide security for Telugu candidates and he assured me that required steps are being taken to prevent such incidents,” Raghuveera said in a statement.