Protesters, predominantly pro-Kannada organisations and farmers, made the Mysore-Bangalore traffic stand still on Tuesday. Their agitation poured on the streets when the Supreme Court asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to Tamil Nadu for 10 days.
Major protests happened in Mandya, the district that primarily gets water from the Cauvery basin. Protesters vandalised PWD office and a police station in Mandya on Tuesday. Buses headed to Karnataka from Tamil Nadu and also from Kerala stopped at the border towns.
The Karnataka government was forced to pull off hundreds of buses.
Schools and colleges in the district will be closed for two days. Entry to the Krishnarajasagar (KRS) dam and the famous Brindavan Gardens in the area has been stopped till September 9. Commercial establishments remained closed in support of the protest. Attendance in government offices was very less.
Protesters blocked the buses in the Bangalore Satellite Bus Station, where inter-state services start. Activists of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike staged demonstrations at different places in Bangalore, including Kempegowda bus station.
Farmers threatened to lay siege if more water is released to Tamil Nadu. Police have tightened security on four reservoirs — Kabini, Krishna Rajendra Sagar (KRS), Hemavathi and Harangi. Some of the film theatres, which screens Tamil movies, canceled their screenings. Rapid Action Force has been deployed in front of the theatres to face the situation.
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) said it has incurred a loss of around Rs 63 lakh due to the disruption to bus services. Protesters attacked some of the KSRTC buses.
Karnataka will release more water from the river Cauvery to neighbouring Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court order, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said after an all-party meet on Tuesday evening. “As a state, we cannot defy the Supreme Court’s orders,” he said.
H.D. Deve Gowda, former Prime Minister and national president of the Janata Dal (S), appealed the people protesting against the Supreme Court’s order to maintain peace and protest peacefully.
BJP state president and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said, ” We don’t have water even for drinking purpose, forget about irrigation purpose. Now, they are telling to release water which is not at all possible.”
The anger of protest is focused at Tamil Nadu. Protesters burned the poster of Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa in many places. Tamil speaking population in Karnataka is huge. Lakhs of people are residing especially in Bangalore, Mysore and other border towns in the state.This kind of protests had happened before as well in-connection with the Cauvery water issue. It has affected the inter-state relationship badly.