The all-Karnataka bandh to protest the Supreme Court order to Karnataka comply with the Cauvery River Authority’s direction to supply 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to Tamil Nadu, was total and mostly peaceful in Bangalore. But that’s not the end of the issue. Belligerent organisations who enforced the bandh have now threatened violent agitations if the state government does not stop releasing the water to Tamil Nadu by October 8.
The situation remains grim, and external affairs minister SM Krishna, who is currently in the US on an official visit, has shot off a letter to prime minister Manmohan Singh urging him to seek an interim report from the central team visiting Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to prevent the situation from turning worse and demanded that the supply of water to Tamil Nadu be allowed to be immediately stopped.
“The entire state is waiting with bated breath to get immediate relief as otherwise it will spell disaster for the population in the Cauvery basin,” said Krishna in the letter. Krishna himself hails from Mandya which is in the Cauvery basin.
Vatal Nagraj, who spearheaded the protests on the Saturday bandh under the umbrella organisation Kannada Okkuta, has warned, “We are giving the state government time till October 8; if they do not take the decision to stop releasing water to TN, we will continue our protest...but the protests will not be peaceful like today. They will be different and the entire responsibility of that will be on the Central and state governments.”
He has warned the state government that the organisations would resort to a jail chalo movement and rail roko across the state.
Nagraj met chief minister Jagadish Shettar in the evening and demanded that the supply of water to Tamil Nadu be immediately stopped.
However, Shettar said they would wait until Supreme Court hears the review petition that has been filed before the apex court and which is coming up for hearing on Monday. Nagraj, however, said if water continues to be released beyond Monday, Kannada Okkuta members plan to picket the chief minister’s residence and trigger another protest.
The bandh kicked off with the protesters blocking Hosur Road which runs into Tamil Nadu, about 35 km from the city. Later, Nagraj, also former MLA and leader of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, Sa Ra Govind of Dr Rajkumar Fans’ Association and Praveen Shetty of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike of Praveen Shetty led about 200 protesters to try and lay siege to chief minister’s home office, and were taken into preventive custody. The bandh aso saw protesters stopping the metro rail service in the afternoon and 28 BMTC buses damaged in various areas of the city.