Karnataka Raitha Sene leader, Veeresh Sobaradamath called off his indefinite fast after six days in relation to the Mahadayi water dispute after Minister of Geology and Mines, Vinay Kulkarni, offered assurances to solve the issue and also take back the cases filed against the farmers involved in the agitation, on Sunday.
However, the farmers woke up to another reality on Monday as 32 farmers were issued summons, by the Nargund JMFC Court in Gadag, asking them to appear for a hearing
The Raitha Sene leader had started a fast-unto-death with several others on July 17 demanding a solution to the water dispute over the sharing of water of the Mahadayi or Mandovi River between the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.
According to the farmers, who were holding a silent protest, the summons issued by the Gadag police came as a complete shock as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had announced on July 18 that cases against farmers would be withdrawn.
â€śBefore we agreed to call off the protest, Siddaramaiah had assured us that all the cases against the farmers would be withdrawn. The government has once again proved that it always goes back on its word and resorts to making fake promises for its benefit,â€ť said Srishaila, a member of the Raita Sena told TNM.
Srishaila alleges that Kumar, an ambulance personnel, Shankara Gowda, a soldier deployed in Gujarat and Charan Raj, an engineer were also issued summons even though there were not connected to the protest.
What is the case about?
On Jul 28, 2016, when the Mahadayi protests erupted in Karnataka after the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal rejected Karnataka government's plea that sought diversion of 7.56 TMC of water from Mahadayi basin to Malaprabha River to cater drinking water to the parched districts of North Karnataka.
Tensions had gripped North Karnataka as several incidents of stone pelting were reported and the police had filed cases against 258 farmers.
â€śOut of the 258 farmers, today, 32 of them were issued summons. The horrible thing is that, at the time of the protest, the persons, who were booked, were not even in any part of North Karnataka. These were the farmers who had migrated to Bengaluru and other cities in search of jobs as farming was not an option. The ambulance personnel was in Udupi at the time and the soldier had been deployed in Gujarat for the past three years,â€ť Srishaila added.
According to Ramesh Naik, the lawyer, who represents these farmers, the police had not conducted a proper probe before booking the farmers for the stone pelting incident.
â€śSince 2015, whenever protests have erupted over the Mahadayi issue, the Gadag police have booked the same people in the stone pelting incidents. They have not investigated the matter and neither have they prepared an investigation report and submitted it to the state government. Why should the innocent be punished? Besides, the Chief Minister had assured the farmers that the cases would be withdrawn on July 18 itself. This is shocking,â€ť Naik added.