Bengaluru, July 27: Farmers and members of pro-Kannada outfits hit the streets in many parts of North Karnataka in display of protest against interim order passed by the Mahadayi Tribunal on Wednesday.
The Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal rejected Karnataka government's plea that sought diversion of 7.56 TMC of water from Mahadayi basin to Malaprabha River to cater drinking water to the parched districts of North Karnataka.
As soon as the verdict was pronounced at around 2.30 pm, violence broke out in Mumbai-Karnataka region. Farmers and members of pro-Kannada organisations took to roads in Dharwad, Gadag, Bagalkot and Belagavi districts.
The police have stepped up security as tension gripped in all towns of these districts. Pro-Kannada organisations and many farmers' organisations have also called for Karnataka bandh on Thursday, July 28.
The farmers are unhappy over the apathy of both the state government and central government in resolving this issue outside the court. From the beginning of this issue, farmers have been consistently demanding amicable settlement outside the court, a demand that was never met.
Besides, all traders and businessmen voluntarily shut their shops in Nargund and Navalgund towns. Farmers vandalised office of the BJP MP Sivakumar Udasi in Gadag.
They also ransacked several government offices, mainly PWD and postal departments. Farmers damaged furniture, doors and window pans. They also made a failed attempted to set ablaze documents from irrigation department.
To control the mob, police personnel resorted to mild lati-charge. A few farmers sustained injuries too. Deputy Commissioner of Gadag, N S Prasanna Kumar has announced holiday to schools and colleges on Thursday as a precautionary measure.
While farmers blocked Hubbali-Vijayapur national highway in Narhund, Navalgund, Hubballi and Dharwad, the police have beefed up security cover to houses of prominent politicians, including Opposition leader Jagadish Shettar and MP Prahlad Joshi.
The farmers have resolved to intensify the agitation to sort out the issue as soon as possible. "Interim order has disappointed us. Hence movement draw water from Mahadayi will be intensified," said Veeresh Sobaradmath the convener of Kalasa-Banduri Horata Samiti.
He added protesting farmers will seek an intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since opting legal remedy will take long time.
Fearing public backlash, all MPs from Congress and BJP did not appear in Public. Haveri MP Shivakumar Udasi said that all four BJP Lok Sabha members, who are representing the people of Mahadayi river basin, will hold discussion to seek intervention of Narendra Modi to resolve the issue.