Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that the government would implement the Supreme Court’s order although it had placed the state in an “impossible situation”.
A day after protests rocked Bengaluru and led to a shutdown, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced the decision to abide by the order following an emergency cabinet meeting. On Monday, the SC had directed the state to release 12,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from the Cauvery.
Addressing the media, Siddaramaiah said: “Karnataka has always been facing injustice on the Cauvery issue for a long time. The September 5 order was difficult and yesterday’s order has placed the state in an impossible situation.”
Taking questions from the media, he said that “We do not have a National Water Policy. in the absence of that, you can’t have decisive solutions for such problems (Cauvery issue).” He added that he had been demanding a National Water Policy for a long time.
However, he maintained that in India, a separation of powers system is followed. Therefore, the executive was bound to follow the directives of the judiciary.
“This is only an interim order, not the final one. It is difficult to implement, but if we violate the order or reject it, it will be unconstitutional. We have held serious discussions in the cabinet meeting. Weighing all the political and legal implications, and keeping in mind that our Special Leave Petition is coming up for hearing on October 18, we have decided to implement the order. Not implementing the order will be unconstitutional,” Siddaramaiah said.
However, he said that the state government would ensure that drinking water was supplied to Bengaluru, Mandya and Mysuru cities and the villages which depended on the Cauvery.
Siddaramaiah also said that the state government would take all steps necessary to maintain law and order. “Strict action will be taken against those who disturb public order. No one should take the law into their own hands. Public order should not be disturbed. I assure all the people in Karnataka, linguistic minorities in the state and those who are visiting from outside, you and your assets will be protected.”
He appealed to the media to cooperate with the police in maintaining law and order. “We need your help to maintain law and order, especially the electronic media. We are not saying that you are instigating people, but people may get instigated by your visuals. If you join hands with us, we can restore peace.”
He said that Bengaluru was not just for the city’s residents but that it had an international image and was known as a brand.
He said that he had sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in resolving the dispute between the two states. “Law and order is not meant for just Karnataka. The situation in Karnataka is related to the situation in Tamil Nadu. Things should not go out of hand, Tamil Nadu also should be on board. I will request the PM to convene a meeting of the two states.”
He said that 10 additional companies of central forces had been sought and deployed across Bengaluru, Mandya and Mysuru. “We have enough forces. There are three festivals – Ganesha, Bakr-Eid, Onam. Police have deployed across the city. I have clearly told the police that no untoward incidents must recur.”
He also said that the state would take care of the legal battle and present its views before the Supreme Court on October 18 when the Special Leave Petition would come up for hearing.
As he left the media conference, Siddarmaiah made an appeal in English, “Violence is not a solution to anything. Violence is not a solution to any problem. Please cooperate.”