Politics

Cauvery Water Dispute: Violence-Hit Bengaluru Limping Back To Normalcy

A police man runs near a vehicle in flames during a protest by pro-Kannada activists on Cauvery water row, in Bengaluru. Credit: PTI

A police man runs near a vehicle in flames during a protest by pro-Kannada activists on Cauvery water row, in Bengaluru. Credit: PTI

After two days of violent protests against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru is limping back to normalcy. Karnataka Road Transport buses have started operating to all places except Tamil Nadu, ANI reports. The metro rail also resumed its service in the city last night.

According to Times of India, the Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday, after an emergency cabinet meeting, announced that the state will release 12,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till September 20 and warned that those indulging in violence during protests against release of water will be dealt with an “iron-hand”.

“Releasing water, following the Supreme Court directives after hearing our modification petition, is a very difficult proposition. However, considering the constitutional position of the SC, wherein defying its directions is not an option, the cabinet has resolved to release water from tonight,” he said.

The chief minister assured that even if the water was released to Tamil Nadu, efforts would be made to ensure there was no drinking water crisis for Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mandya districts. “Despite it being a difficult ask to meet the directions of the Supreme Court, I assure the people of the Cauvery basin and Bengaluru that there shall be no drinking water crisis till June 6 of 2017,” he said.

Siddaramaiah said the decision to release the water, considering the ground realities, was next to “impossible” but could not be evaded. He said time and again Karnataka had been meted out injustice in the Cauvery river issue.

“But we have accepted the constitution which spells out the three pillars of the country, the judiciary, the administration and the executive. However, considering that a constitutionally set up government needs to abide within the frame of the constitution, despite it being a difficult decision, we cannot defy or reject the Supreme Court which would be extra-constitutional,” he said.

The chief minister had also sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek his intervention to bail out the state from the present crisis as the storage position in reservoirs was poor. He also called for a meeting of Congress legislators from the city to discuss the situation and Monday’s violent protests.

In its September 5 order, the apex court had directed the state to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water for ten days to ameliorate the plight of farmers of the neighbouring state, which had triggered strong protests from farmers and pro-Kannada outfits with Karnataka observing a bandh against it on September 9, PTI reports.

Two people were killed following Monday’s violence in the city. One person had died in police firing while another succumbed to injuries he suffered while escaping police lathicharge when he jumped in panic from a three-storey building. Over 350 people were arrested for vandalism in Bengaluru, where buses were burnt and shops were damaged on Monday. Curfew, imposed late on Monday night, continued to remain in force in 16 areas of the city.

No major untoward incidents have been reported from other parts of the state. Sporadic protests were witnessed in Mandya, Mysuru, Chitradurga, Ramanagra and other parts yesterday.

(With PTI inputs)