Defying order, state shut its options?

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Has the Karnataka government sacrificed its chances of appealing before the Supreme Court by defying the CRA order?

“First comply and then apply” – reiterated the team of legal experts headed by senior counsel Fali S. Nariman to chief minister Jagadish Shettar in New Delhi on Friday evening.

This was the same advice given by legal eagles to the chief minister, when the Cauvery River Authority, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ordered the release of 9,000 cusecs every day to Tamil Nadu on September 19.

Highly-placed sources said that the state government chose to ignore the warning as Mr Shettar managed to drum up support from all political parties over the issue and promised to protect the interest of the farmers of the State.

Now, the state has little choice but to release water before appealing before the Supreme Court or the CRA. While, the CRA has entertained the review petition of the state, it has noted that the September 19 order has to be complied with.

The tone of the SC directive matched that of the CRA when the apex court “regretted” that the state had not complied with the order passed by the highest authority.

However, there is hope, say legal experts. “The state has a good case against the CRA order. But the first order should be obeyed forthwith on release of water,” said state’s counsel Mohan Katarki.

In fact, complying with the CRA order would have translated to better bargaining power for the state, experts believe. “The CRA order was to release 9,000 cusecs daily and the state was already releasing up to 4,000 cusecs.

However, if the state had obeyed the order, it could have confidently appealed before the CRA or SC, seeking reduction in the duration of the release – from 25 days (from September 20 to October 25) to 15 days, which would helped them save a decent amount of water in state’s reservoirs,” reasoned the sources in the state government.

SC verdict triggers instant protests in Mysore, Mandya

The Supreme Court order asking Karnataka to abide by the Cauvery River Authority decision and release 9,000 cusecs of water every day to Tamil Nadu triggered instant protests in the river basin areas on Friday.

Hundreds of farmers, who were returning from a convention in Bengaluru seeking a better support price for sugarcane, blocked the Bengaluru-Mysore highway for one hour at Mahaveer Circle in Mandya and for half-an-hour at Maddur.

They took out a protest march from Mahaveer Circle to Sanjay Circle, headed by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha leader K.S. Nanjundegowda.

The protesters also squatted on rail tracks at the Maddur railway station, stopping Mysore-Tirupathi and Bengaluru-Mysore passenger trains for half an hour.

Members of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (Pravin Shetty group) protested by taking out a torchlight parade from V.V. Road to Sanjay Circle in Mandya.

Members of the Farmers’ Protection Forum continued their protest in Mandya. Congress leader D.K. Shivkumar, who extended support to protests in Mandya said, “The state government has made a mistake by boycotting the meeting with the PM. They should apologise and convince the PM on the present ground situation in the state,” he said.

Assembly opposition leader Siddramaiah (Congress) in Mysore said that the legal fight is the only solution for the Cauvery issue.

Hundreds of activists, led by former MLA Somashekar, protested at the Ramaswamy Circle in Mysore. Many activists from the Federation of District Kannada Associations carried stone slabs on their heads in a symbolic protest at Bhuvaneswari Circle in Chamarajnagar.

MPs from state must quit, says madegowda

“Members of Parliament from the State should resign and come back home as they have done nothing to protect the interest of farmers in the Cauvery issue,” said Cauvery Protection Committee (CPC) chairman G. Madegowda.

Reacting to the Supreme Court verdict and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s decision asking Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till October 20, Mr Madegowda told Deccan Chronicle, “We have sent our MPs to protect the interest of our farmers.

They are not in good terms with each other and have remained indifferent to Cauvery issue. Let them quit.” Asked what is the next step, he said, “Though it is the Prime Minister who has ordered release of water, it is up to the chief minister to do so.

At our previous meeting, he promised us that he will not release water even if he loses power. We trust him; we are waiting for his decision. If he breaks his promise, we will remove the keys and stage a protest in front of KRS gates. We have staged such protests four times earlier.”

He said, “We have called for a meeting of the committee on Saturday. Based on
the Chief Minister’s decision, we will decide on the course of action.”

Protesters lay siege to CM’s house Kaveri, arrested

Thirty-four members of the Kannada Rakshana Vedike were arrested by Sadashivanagar police after they lay siege to Chief Minister’s house, Kaveri, on Friday evening protesting against the Centre's decision to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

The protesters tried to barge into the CM’s official residence and threatened to intensify the agitation if the water is released.

The protesters also said that screening of Tamil movies and distribution of Tamil newspapers in the state will be stopped if water is released to Tamil Nadu. The protest took place around 5.30 pm.

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