Karnataka will defer the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, the state Cabinet decided on Wednesday, defying a Supreme Court order that had sparked large-scale violence in country’s IT hub Bengaluru last week.
The decision was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting called a day after the top court revised an earlier order and asked the Karnataka government to release 6,000 cusecs of water to the neighbouring state till September 27.
“The cabinet has decided to defer the release of water,” chief minister Siddaramaiah said after the meeting, adding that an all-party meeting held earlier in the day decided to convene a special assembly session on September 23 to discuss the issue.
Tamil-speaking people, their properties and vehicles registered in Tamil Nadu were damaged across Bengaluru on Monday when mobs vented their anger against the Supreme Court’s earlier order directing Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of water to the neighbouring state till September 20. The state challenged the order.
Karnataka, where farmers are facing water shortage due to a deficient monsoon, stores the river’s water at the reservoir on the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam in Srirangapatna near Mandya.
The state has witnessed sporadic protests, especially at Mandya the epicentre of the Cauvery agitation, since Wednesday morning, where agitators blocked the Bengaluru-Mysuru road at various places.
Bengaluru police imposed prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people till September 25. Additional security forces have also been deployed all over the city.
Earlier during the day, the BJP skipped the all-party-meeting attended by JD(S) leaders including former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.
State BJP president BS Yeddyurappa said the party did not want to be a “culpable partner in the Congress government’s sins of omission and commission”.
Deve Gowda is understood to have advised Siddaramaiah against releasing water to Tamil Nadu stating the drinking water requirement of Karnataka was more important.
“Drinking water should be given priority. If they (Tamil Nadu farmers) suffer crop losses it can be compensated but we cannot compromise on drinking water,” Gowda told media persons.