Bengaluru: Hundreds of protesters on Tuesday blocked a major highway in Karnataka and 700 buses were taken off roads in massive protests a day after the Supreme Court directed the state to release Cauvery river water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
According to news agency ANI, the movement of hundreds of buses travelling between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were blocked by protestors, meanwhile, a bus was also torched in Tamil Nadu.
For safety, the Karnataka government has pulled off 700 of its buses travelling from Bengaluru and Mysuru to Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi (Cauvery protection committee) had called for a bandh today in Mandya – the hotbed of Cauvery politics – a day after the Supreme Court directed the Karnataka government to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka Law Minister, however, made an appeal for calm over the issue.
My appeal to people is to keep calm and not take law in their hands, TB Jaychandra, Karnataka Law Minister, said on Cauvery issue.
All this comes as farmers and others continue to hit the streets protesting the top court directive to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for next ten days to the neighbouring state.
Chief Minister 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 today evening to take stock of the situation.
“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,” Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi president and former MP G Made Gowda had told reporters at Mandya, some 100 km from in Bengaluru, on Monday.
Gowda also urged the government to file a review petition in the top court.
He said he had spoken to state Water Resources Minister MB 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 in Bengaluru, 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,” Mr 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.
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