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Cauvery dispute: Protests erupt in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu

Mandya, Karnataka: Protests erupted on Friday in the Cauvery heartland over Karnataka government's decision to release water to Tamil Nadu with the issue rocking the assembly forcing its adjournment for the day following uproarious scenes.

Facing protests and Opposition heat, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar rushed to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat to seek their intervention as the state itself was facing a distress situation.

PTI

As Karnataka began releasing 10,000 cusecs late last night complying with the Supreme Court directive, attempts were made to block roads on Bangalore-Mysore highway here, prompting police to step up security.

The protesters including farmers stormed the Deputy Commissioner's office here and laid siege to it demanding immediate stoppage of water release.

Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi, a body of farmers spearheading the stir, has given a call for Mandya district bandh tomorrow.

The district administration has declared holiday for schools and colleges for two days from today. Protests also broke out in Chamarajanagar, another Cauvery basin district.

Vehicles have stopped plying from Sathyamangalam near Erode in Tamil Nadu to Mysore following demonstrations and hartal by some Kannada groups in parts of Karnataka.

For the second consecutive day, more than 800 lorries, 300 vans and 200 other vehicles have been parked at Sathyamangalam, Bannari check-post and near Thimbam.

Police are maintaining tight vigil on the Tamil Nadu- Karnataka border at Karapallam and Puzhinjure.

Shops in Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts remained closed condemning the attitude of the Karnataka government on Cauvery water release.

Police took more than hundred persons including Madegowda, President of the Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi.

Members of the samithi headed by Madegowda took out a protest march and staged dharna infront of the DC office and laid a siege for nearly one hour.

Madegowda, addressing a huge gathering, criticised the BJP government for releasing water and called the government a "betrayer".

He also wanted opposition parties to move no confidence motion against government for reneging on its promise and declared the stir would continue till the BJP government was ousted. He urged the chief minister to stop the release of water otherwise the stir will be intensified in the state.

In Panduvapura, JDS workers headed by MLA C.S.Puttaraju took out a procession and condemned government's decision in releasing water.

In Gejjalagere Ryots association blocked the Bangalore Mysore road in protest of water release.

Protests were witnessed in parts of Chamarajanagar district.

The Cauvery water release issue disrupted proceedings of both Houses of the state legislature and presiding officers were forced to adjourn for the day.

Congress and JDS members criticised the government for its "failure" to protect farmers interest and its decision to release water to Tamil Nadu.

In Tiruvarur, the Nagore-Ernakulam train was blocked for
an hour by local traders, 200 of whom were arrested, while in
Thanjavur district more than 100 farmers participated in the
train blockade agitation.

Both the Houses of the Karnataka Legislature, whose winter session is being held at Belgaum, witnessed furore with Opposition Congress and JDS hitting out at the government for "failure" to protect the farmers' interest.

Opposition Congress leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah demanded that government halt release of water.

Both Houses were adjourned for the day in the wake of uproarious scenes. The Houses will meet again on Monday.

Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa said the Congress governments in the past had also released water to Tamil Nadu on court directions.

Speaking to reporters at Belgaum, former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, who quit the BJP recently, wanted MPs to resign en masse and sit in dharna in front of Parliament till the Centre comes to Karnataka's rescue.

The apex court had on Wednesday in an interim order directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu, and asked the Cauvery Monitoring Committee to hold its meeting to decide the amount of water required by the states.

PTI

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