Vatal insists that a shutdown is about pointing out a wrong decision.

Whats the point of bandhs if they dont solve Cauvery issue Vatal Nagaraj answers
news Cauvery Wednesday, September 07, 2016 - 09:39

As the bickering between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka increases over sharing Cauvery water, groups from either sides that have gathered to raise their voice and provoke emotions, as usual.

Vatal Nagaraj, a man who has over the years positioned himself as the ‘saviour of Kannadiga interests’ now heads the Federation of Karnataka organisations or Kannada Okoota and has called for a state-wide bandh on Friday.

From demanding wage hike for bus drivers and organising a bandh for justice to Karnataka in the Mahadayi water sharing issue, Vatal, a Kannada hardliner, calls for protests and bandh whenever any ‘anti-Karnataka’ decision is taken.

The apex court on September 6 directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water for 10 days starting from Tuesday onwards to save TN's Samba crops. This angered many pro-farmer organisations and protests erupted near Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mandya district soon after the verdict.

Protests and even a complete shutdown is perhaps a democratic way for groups of people to show their disillusionment or question the government. But is a bandh call for a dispute such as the Cauvery issue, which has been unresolved for decades, mere tokenism and perhaps meaningless?

Nagaraj disagrees. He told The News Minute that pro-Kannada association were forced to call for a bandh as it was necessary to convince the courts about the ground situation.

“Today if we don’t protest against their decision, it is going to be difficult for us. All we are asking the court is to reconsider the verdict. They should assess the ground reality in Karnataka. Before the decision was taken the court could have sent a representative to KRS to know what the situation is,” said Nagaraj.

Vatal insists that a shutdown is about pointing out a wrong decision.

“People must put across their views. The court in this case has shown a blind eye to Karnataka and that is what we are pointing out,” he said.

Asked if this protest tactic had yielded any result in terms of achieving a resolution of the dispute, Nagaraj maintained that "democracy means protest" but later added that he was not merely protesting for the sake of protesting.

"Whether we have achieved anything is a different story. But in a democracy, it is the right of people to agitate. We have faced injustice, so we will protest."

On whether they are accusing the state government of not putting up a good argument in court, Nagaraj clarified that the association’s fight is against greedy Jayalalithaa and the inhuman supreme court. 

Speaking on Tamil Nadu chief minister, Nagaraj equated Jayalalithaa to a “Rakshasi” (demon). “She wants everything for herself.”

“There can’t be a person more senseless than her. Every time she has been the chief minister, she has agitated the people of Karnataka by bringing up the Cauvery issue. In 1991, when Bangarappa was the chief minister, it was my organisation, which put a lot of pressure on government forcing the CM to stand his ground and not release water,” he said.