Karnataka witnesses protests following the release of Cauvery river water to TN.

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Protests have erupted in Karnataka following the initiation of Cauvery river water release to Tamil Nadu as mandated by the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA). Various farmer groups have organized demonstrations in key regions such as Mysuru, Mandya, and Chamarajanagar, which are at the heart of the Cauvery basin, expressing their discontent with the government’s decision. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the Congress-led government of taking insufficient action to protect Karnataka’s interests.

The BJP has also criticized the government for what it sees as a lack of proper legal action against the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government, which is a crucial ally in the newly formed INDIA bloc, where the Congress plays a prominent role. The Karnataka government initiated the release of 5,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water to Tamil Nadu following the CWMA’s directive on August 28. Previously, the CWMA had ordered Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of water daily. However, Karnataka appealed to the CWMA, citing insufficient rainfall in the Cauvery basin, leading to a revised directive for 5,000 cusecs of water to reach Biligundlu, located at the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Farmers from regions near the Cauvery and Kabini rivers and the Krishnaraja Sagar dam in Mysuru have been actively protesting since the development. In Mandya, farmers conducted a march while raising slogans against the Congress government, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, and Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, who holds the Water Resources portfolio. In Srirangapatna, farmers staged a unique “shirtless” protest by standing in the Cauvery river, symbolizing their dissatisfaction with the state government’s stance.

Similar demonstrations by farmers occurred in Chamarajanagar district. Former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa questioned why Tamil Nadu was demanding more water from Karnataka when there was no water crisis in the neighboring state. He emphasized that Karnataka was facing a water shortage, particularly in the KRS dam. Yediyurappa expressed support for the government’s position and called for an immediate halt to the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, urging the government to file an appeal in the Supreme Court and engage in a legal battle.

BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai accused the Congress government of failing to safeguard the interests of farmers and the drinking water needs of Karnataka’s residents. He criticized the government for not taking legal action against the previous water releases ordered by the CWMA. Bommai called for an immediate stop to the water release, an appeal to the Supreme Court, and a vigorous legal fight to protect Karnataka’s interests.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar held a meeting with legal experts and Karnataka officials involved in the Cauvery issue in New Delhi.

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