With the state government, under the stewardship of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, deciding to follow Supreme Court diktat on release of water to Tamil Nadu, protests continued on day 2 as well here on Wednesday. Mandya district, the hub of protests, resembled a mini war field what with police using lathi-charge to control protesting farmers.
Meanwhile, farmer leaders Kuruburu Shantha Kumar, Badagalapura Nagendra and others were arrested at Kabini dam.
Protest called by farmer and Kannada outfits over the Supreme Court order asking Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water every day for the next 10 days to the neighbouring state has sparked off widespread agitation.
Protests turned violent as some miscreants tried to destroy government property at Sanjay Circle in Mandya. Postures of Sudeep-starrer Kottigobba 2 were torn and the protesters tried to burn tyres in various parts of the district.
Hundreds of farmers, led by MLC K S Puttanaiah, staged out a dharna in front of KRS entrance and urged the government to ensure security for farmers. Tension prevailed at Kabini where farmers tried to enter the reservoir. Police, who were present at the spot, caned and arrested farmers, while trying to prevent them from entering the reservoir.
Participating in the protest, farmer leader Puttanaiah said, “The Supreme Court order is unfair. When our state is facing scarcity of drinking water, how can we release water to Tamil Nadu for a second crop?” He urged that state government to protect its people, crops and livestock at any cost.
As a precautionary measure, high alert has been issued in every district, including Bengaluru. Adding to this, the paramilitary forces would be called if the law and order situation deteriorates. The schools and colleges would remain closed in Mandya for the next two days.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in a press meet, said that state government can’t go against the Supreme Court order and at the same time, he said that measures would be taken for the welfare of the farmers.
Past agitation: The Cauvery water dispute is decades old and it escalates when monsoon fails, as there is no water to share. This year, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have received less than normal rainfall during the monsoon. Karnataka’s line of argument is it can’t release water to TN for agriculture purpose as the state does not have enough water for drinking.