Protests in Karnataka after Supreme Courts rules to release Cauvery water

New Delhi : Farmers and pro-Kannada outfit activists protested in various parts of Karnataka on Monday against the Supreme Court direction to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu while Chief Minister Siddaramaiah convened a meeting of legislature leaders and MPs in Bengaluru on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

As farmers and others hit the streets protesting the apex court directive to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for next ten days to the neighbouring state, the Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi (Cauvery protection committee) called for a bandh on Tuesday in Mandya, the hotbed of Cauvery politics.

Siddaramaiah, whose government has been expressing its inability to release water to Tamil Nadu citing poor storage, would hold a meeting with floor leaders of all parties in the state legislature, MPs and district-in charge ministers tomorrow evening to take stock of the situation, an official release said on Monday night.

“We have decided to call for Mandya bandh on Tuesday to protest against the court direction to release cauvery water to Tamil Nadu when there is hardly any water left at our side of the river,” Samithi President and former MP G Made Gowda told reporters at Mandya, some 100 km from Bengaluru.

Gowda also urged the government to file a review petition in the apex court. He said he had spoken to state Water Resources Minister M B Patil over phone and urged him to safeguard the interest of Karnataka farmers.

The farmers’ leader also warned the government that it would face a strong agitation if water was released to Tamil Nadu.

Protests broke out in other parts of the state including Chamrajnagar, Mysuru and Hubballi with farmers and pro-Kannada activists demonstrating against the Supreme Court order and urging the Siddaramaiah government to protect interests of Karnataka farmers and not release water to Tamil Nadu.

Police said effigies and posters of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa were burnt in some places in these districts.

A group of farmers tried to enter the KRS Reservoir in Mysuru protesting the court direction, but police prevented them.

‘Karnataka Okkuta’, led by Vatal Nagaraj, called for a ‘Karnataka bandh’ on September 9.

Workers of the pro-Kannada outfit held a protest here, bringing traffic to a halt in the heart of the city.

“There is no water in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and Chamrajnagar, and that is the truth. We have called for Karnataka Bandh on September 9 to protest against the injustice meted out to farmers here,” Nagaraj told reporters.

Passing orders on a petition by Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court noted that damage would be caused to samba crops in the neighbouring state and directed Karnataka to release water.