Karnataka: Emotions run high over Cauvery river water

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Bangalore, Oct 2: Cauvery river is not just a source of water for people of Karnataka. With the river, Kannadigas share close emotional bond. Perhaps that is why any dispute over the river and sharing of its water causes great emotional reaction from the people of the state.

It is not just the farmers (the main beneficiaries of the river) and politicians, but even actors and pontiffs of Karnataka have come together to protest against the release of Cauvery water to neighbouring state Tamil Nadu.

Political observers fear that agitation against release of Cauvery water might further accelerate.

Activists protesting against the release of Cauvery water have called for a state wide bandh on Oct 6.

Popular Kannada actor and former Union minister MH Ambareesh and Kannada actor Yash expressed their protest against the release of Cauvery water and participated in the agitation. Vokkaliga pontiff Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamy also declared his support to the farmers.

Four Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs and one MP from Mandya have sent their resignations to party leader HD Kumaraswamy in protest against release of water on Monday, Oct 1.

The Karnataka government has already felt the heat of the problem as protest were seen in various parts of the state.

To maintain law and order situation in the state, government has deployed three Rapid Action Force (RAF) companies in Bangalore.

Karnataka on Sunday has began releasing water from Krishna Raja Sagar and Kabini dams to ensure flow of 9,000 cusecs of water to the neighbouring state.

As per the Supreme Court order, Karnataka has to release water from Cauvery to its neighbouring state daily till Oct 15.

The Supreme Court order has not been taken lightly by the people of the state. Vehicular movements and train services between Bangalore and Mysore have been disrupted due to protests in Karnataka over Cauvery issue.

Police said about 100 people were taken into custody when they squatted on the tracks and detained the Mysore-Shiradi express at Gejjalagere village. In Mysore, activists of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of the state has been criticised by various sections of the society for agreeing to release water.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had told reporters on Sunday that it was "inevitable" for the government to release water to comply with the Apex Court order but that the state was committed to protect the interests of farmers.

He had also said that the state would file a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking a review of its order asking the state to honour the Cauvery River Authority directive to release 9,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu till Oct 15.

Karnataka has already urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also the CRA Chairman, to review its Sept 19 order and keep it in abeyance till the decision was reviewed.


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