The city, whose residents were accused of being indifferent to the Cauvery issue, felt the full impact of the ongoing agitations against release of water to Tamil Nadu on Thursday. The day was marked by picketing, road blocks and flash protests as pro-Kannada and farmers outfits received support from organisations not traditionally associated with linguistic politics.
At noon, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), led by Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, started its march from the Gandhi statue at Maurya Circle toward Raj Bhavan. At the Governor’s residence, its path was blocked by a large police force and its threat to break through the police cordon resulted in the arrest of over 300.
At the Raj Bhavan
As their numbers depleted with the arrests, around 500 activists of the human rights organisation Nyayakaagi Naavu merged with KRRS and kept up the pressure on the police. Led by Dalit leaders Indudar Honnapura and M. Venkatswamy, the Nyayakaagi Naavu activists tried to shut the Raj Bhavan gates with a padlock. Their attempts were thwarted by the police.
Another wave of protestors, under the banner of State Vehicle Drivers’ Association, attempted to lay siege to the Raj Bhavan.
A delegation of leaders from the organisation submitted a memorandum to the Governor’s office.
They parted with the threat to lay siege to the Krishnaraja Sagar dam in Mandya if the dispute over water sharing is not resolved to their satisfaction.
Among the many small protests that erupted in different parts of the city, the prominent ones were by the Parveen Kumar Shetty-led faction of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, the workers of the Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd. and MICO factory workers.
Mr. Shetty’s men blocked the Magadi Road toll gate, the HAL workers blocked the road in front of their factory in Vimanapura and those from MICO blocked the Hosur Road near Electronics City. Another pro-Kannada outfit, Jaya Karnataka, held a hunger strike near the Town Hall. It announced that the strike would be on until October 8.