Farmers and pro-Kannada organizations in Karnataka's Mandya district continue their protests against the release of Cauvery river water to neighboring Tamil Nadu, calling for a "bandh" to voice their opposition.
Farmers and pro-Kannada groups in Karnataka’s Mandya district continue their protests against the release of Cauvery River water to Tamil Nadu, calling for a “bandh” (shutdown) in the region.
The ongoing protests saw farmers and activists in Mandya lying on the ground and raising slogans, demanding justice. They also formed human chains to express their opposition to the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s (CWMA) directive to release water to Tamil Nadu.
Protests have spread across the state, with members of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike staging demonstrations in Bengaluru and Udupi on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Demonstrations also took place in other Cauvery river basin districts, including Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, and Ramanagara. In these protests, participants engaged in sloganeering, road blockades, and symbolic acts like burning tires and effigies.
Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activists, led by Praveen Shetty, even blocked a highway in Bengaluru’s K R Puram, resulting in several detentions by the police. Some Kannada organizations also blocked the TK Halli pumping station in Mandya, which supplies water to Bengaluru. The police deployed personnel to pacify the crowd.
In response to the protests, the Raitha Hitarakshana Samiti in Mandya called for a district-wide “bandh” on Saturday, receiving support from various groups. The “bandh” is expected to disrupt daily activities, including vehicular movement and business operations.
G Parameshwara, the state’s Home Minister, stated that while protests are a right, they should not involve the destruction of public property or illegal activities that inconvenience people. He appealed to protesters to act responsibly.
The minister also assured that the police are well-prepared to manage the situation and have deployed a significant number of personnel near the KRS dam in Mandya.
In response to potential tensions, the police department has heightened security in areas with a Tamil-speaking population. The police commissioner emphasized that all necessary security measures are in place and officers are on high alert to prevent incidents such as stone-pelting on Tamil Nadu-registered buses or private vehicles.