After strikes over Mahadayi water dispute and the Bharat Bandh, Karnataka is set to witness one more shutdown. Pro-Karnataka groups have called for a state-wide bandh on Friday after the Supreme Court asked the state to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
The bandh call has been made by several pro-Karnataka organisations lead by a coalition called the 'Kannada Okkoota'. Farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrasekhar, leader of Karnataka's farmers' group Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, who has been at the forefront of the protests at the Krishna Sagar Dam has also extended support to the bandh call.
The bandh call is from 6 am to 6 pm. Lorry association, film chamber and malls have offered support for the cause declared Vatal Nagaraj, president of Federation of Kannada Organisations at a press meet in Bengaluru.
Nagaraj said, “The Supreme Court’s verdict is blind” and added that Jayalalithaa’s stubbornness (manduthana) & SC's inhuman verdict will leave people in four districts without water.”
“Declaring that we cannot release water to TN, on September 9, a complete Karnataka bandh is being called. People may say that Vatal Nagaraj and Kannada Okkoota have already done four bandhs. This is true. But it is essential. Don’t be saddened. This is necessary,” Nagaraj told TV reporters on Tuesday in Bengaluru.
"The water situation is so grim in the Cauvery basin that people will be facing problem for even drinking water, if we allow water to TN. We understand that frequent bandh calls are a huge inconvenience to the public. But we have no other way as successive governments have failed to protect the interests of farmers in the Cauvery basin," he told The Times of India.
Chalanachitra Vanijya Mandala, the Karnataka Film Chamber too has expressed support for the bandh, confirmed by President Sara Govindu. This means movie shootings will be suspended for the day and theatres in the state will also shut down.
Meanwhile, a bandh is being observed in Mandya district on Tuesday which is the epicentre of the agitation. Mandya Police have detained about 100 protesters who were trying to enter the KRS dam.
Bus services to Mysore and parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala from Bengaluru have been suspended fearing violence from the protesters.
As expected farmer organizations and various political outfits including mainstream parties stepped up their agitation since Monday afternoon after the apex court verdict in Mandya, Kogadu and Chikmaglur districts.
Authorities also stepped up security at the Harangi (Kodagu), Hemavathi (Hassan), KRS (Mandya) and Kabini (Mysuru) reservoirs. Kodagu Police have closed off Harangi reservoir to visitors.