Cauvery water war: SC order sparks protests in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka
The Cauvery water war escalated on Tuesday as protests erupted after the Supreme Court ordered Karnataka to release 15,000 cusec a day for the next 10 days to Tamil Nadu.
In Tamil Nadu, farmers from the Delta region expressed unhappiness, claiming 15,000 cusec was inadequate for their farming needs and described it as “too little too late”.
In Karnataka’s Mandya region, farmers took to the streets against the apex court order and blocked roads in protest, threatening to launch a bigger agitation and block feeder canals to stop the supply of water to Tamil Nadu.
“When we are being given only drinking water and not a drop for irrigation, why should farmers in Tamil Nadu be given water to grow their crops. This is patently unjust and the Karnataka government must file a review petition in the Supreme Court against the decision,” said Mandya MLA MH Ambareesh.
A bandh was called by a pro-Kannada outfit on Monday, and thousands of police officers were deployed to monitor the situation.
Tamil Nadu state transport buses were halted at the Hosur Border Bus Stand due to protests in parts of Karnataka. Krishna Raja Sagara Dam and Brindavan Gardens were closed to the public for four days.
Hundreds of buses were taken off the roads in protest in the Bengaluru-Mysore section and between Chennai and Bengaluru. In Tanjavur, Karnataka state buses were vandalised, while many state transport buses remained out of service at Chennai’s CMBT bus terminus.
Protesters from Karantaka also burned effigies of Jayalalithaa and stopped all buses coming from Tamil Nadu. “We do not want to give even a drop of water to Tamil Nadu. The Karnataka government is to blame as it could not put the case of Karantaka farmers properly in the court,” a protesting farmer said.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah called an all-party meeting to discuss the Cauvery river water issue and the apex court’s order on the matter.
TB Jaychandra, Karnataka law minister, appealed to the public not to take law and order in their hands and to maintain peace.
“We know that the Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. We have to oblige to their orders. My appeal to public is not to resort to agitation and keep calm. They should cooperate with the state government,” Jaychandra told ANI.
Failure of legal team
Karnataka farmers are planning a massive bandh on September 9 against the decision of the apex court, questioning the poor performance of the state’s legal team — whom they blame for being unable to properly represent their case.
Before the SC order, at an all-party meet in Bengaluru as also in a meeting with farmers, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had asserted that “not a drop could be given to Tamil Nadu as our own state is facing deficient rainfall and we are giving water only for drinking purposes. We cannot give water for irrigation to another state”.
In contrast, political parties in Tamil Nadu welcomed the apex court’s decision and expressed hope that the court will ensure full justice by ensuring adequate water from the Cauvery in accordance with the river water tribunal’s order.
“It is the relentless battle that chief minister Jayalalithaa fought through the legal system that has borne fruit today,” said AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi.
She expressed hope that the central government would ensure justice to Tamil Nadu by impressing upon Karnataka to honour the court’s judgment and release water. “Tamil Nadu is hoping for more relief from the Supreme Court,” Saraswathi added.
DMK spokesperson TKS Elangovan too lauded the SC decision and said it would help farmers.