Bengaluru police took action on Friday, detaining members of pro-Kannada organizations who were protesting near Attibele in Karnataka, as tensions flared over the Cauvery river water dispute. In a related development, Tamil Nadu-registered vehicles faced blockades at the Zuzuvadi border town in Tamil Nadu, resulting in over 400 buses from various districts being stranded in Hosur, as the police prevented them from proceeding. Earlier in the day, Pro Kannada Organizations had staged protests at the border.
The Cauvery Regulatory Committee’s (CWRC) decision to release 3000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu prompted farmer unions and pro-Kannada organizations to call for a Karnataka Bandh, leading to protests and slogans asserting ownership of the Cauvery River.
The police, with an eye on maintaining law and order during the Bandh, took more than 50 individuals from these organizations into custody. Additional Superintendent of Police of Bengaluru Rural, Mallikarjun Baladandi, stated, “We have made proper arrangements as a bandh has been called by several pro-Kannada organizations. More than 50 people from the organizations have been taken into custody… We have sufficient staff, and we will make sure nothing goes wrong.”
In response to the protests and Bandh, there was a noticeable decrease in the number of passengers at metro stations. Commercial areas such as Cubbonpet and Cottonpete commercial markets in Bengaluru saw shops shutting down in support of the Cauvery agitation. Pro Kannada activists were also detained at the KIAL airport after attempting to stop vehicles near the airport entrance.
Bengaluru City District Deputy Commissioner KA Dayananda declared a holiday for all schools and colleges in Bengaluru City on Friday, aligning with the Karnataka Bandh called by various farmer organizations over the Cauvery water dispute.
Additional police forces were deployed to the Gaddalagere railway track in Mandya district as pro-farmer activists threatened to disrupt train services by occupying the tracks.
Deputy Commissioner of Mandya, Kumar, stated, “In view of the bandh called by pro-Kannada organizations, farmer unions, and several other organizations regarding the Cauvery water issue, Section 144 has been imposed in Mandya district, and schools and colleges will remain closed tomorrow.”
On a separate note, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) activists held a large protest in Bengaluru on Thursday, expressing their dissatisfaction with state MPs and the Siddaramaiah Government over the Cauvery River water issue. They demanded that elected state MPs either advocate for Karnataka on this matter or resign from their positions.
In another development, members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike Swabhimani Sene disrupted a press conference held by actor Siddharth for his film in Bengaluru. They argued that it was an inappropriate time for such an event, given Tamil Nadu’s demand for Cauvery River water from Karnataka.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed disappointment over the recommendation of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC), which directed Karnataka to release 3000 cusecs of Cauvery water at Biligundlu from September 28 to October 15, 2023.
He announced, “Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee (CWRC) ordered to release 3000 cusecs of water; I have already spoken to our advocates. They have suggested us to challenge this order in the Supreme Court. We will challenge it in the Supreme Court. We don’t have water to release to Tamil Nadu. We are challenging the orders of the CWRC.”
The longstanding Cauvery River water-sharing dispute has been a contentious issue between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Centre established the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) on June 2, 1990, to mediate disputes among Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Puducherry concerning water-sharing arrangements.
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