An hour earlier, under the pretence of objecting to a sticker on our car, a constable had nabbed us from the road and took us to the police station, hell-bent on barring our way forward.
But, evidently, he cared not about our sticker, which he feebly claimed was an Election Commission violation. Rather, he wanted to know why a foreigner and two Indians had been stopping their vehicle every few miles to shoot photographs and videos of Bellary's mines.
In truth, this cop had been specifically waiting for us to wind our way precariously up one of Bellary's many mountains. Earlier, we had encountered mine security guards around ever corner, posted like sentinels, hands on their walkie-talkies, quick to report anything out of the ordinary. Apparently, they had radioed us in.
Election season in Bellary, and the atmosphere is hyper-neurotic, downright wierd.
Image: A house marked for demolition in Thoranagallu village in Bellary to widen roads.
Also see: A banker in the fray | India Votes