Several activists were taken into custody after blocking city traffic at the busy Hampankatta Junction in Mangalore on Sunday agitating against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

The protesters from various organisations, including Cauvery Horata Samiti along with Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Dakshina Kannada, among others took out a rally starting from Ambedkar Circle and culminating at the Hampankatta Junction where they formed a human chain.

The city police said 65 people were taken into custody after the protest.

S.P. Chengappa, convenor of the samiti, blamed the BJP-led Government for not having fought for the rights of the people of the State.

“The Chief Minister had told the Prime Minister-led Cauvery River Authority that the State could release up to 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu. Why make this claim when he knows that the reservoirs are empty?” he said.

Stating that the protest was not held against the people of Tamil Nadu or Kerala, Mr. Chengappa said: “We are protesting at the way the State and the Union government have treated the farmers, who are already reeling under drought.

“The Government has to understand that we cannot keep our plates empty just to fill someone else’s plate,” he said.

Concern

Commenting on the lack of response in the district, Mr. Chengappa said although releasing water from Cauvery did not emotionally affect the people here, the Netravati diversion project which has raised concerns here was intricately connected to the Government’s apathy towards farmers.

Congress leader B. Janardhan Poojary told presspersons on Saturday that the issue of release of water should stop as farmers were suffering because of scarcity of water in the State. Despite the support by various local organisations including All College Students' Union, the Statewide bandh had minimal effect in the district. Schools, colleges, shops, cinemas, hotels, government offices, and banks remained open while the city and Karnataka State Road Transportation Corporation buses plied at full frequency within the district.

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