"The government is committed to protecting the interest of people" said Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar

Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has convened an all-party meeting in Bangalore tomorrow, even as protests by farmers erupted in the wake of the Supreme Court directive asking the state to release 9000 cusecs of Cauvery water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

The meeting will also be discussing the future course of action the state should adopt on the water release issue.

Mr Shettar, who is currently in Delhi, said “the government is committed to protecting the interest of people”.

He said he would seek legal advice from senior counsel Fali S Nariman, who represents Karnataka in the Cauvery river dispute and decide on future plans including seeking review of the Supreme Court order.

Meanwhile in Mandya district, the hotbed of Cauvery stir, farmers and Kannada protagonist organisations took to the streets in protest against the apex court order.

Farmers’ bodies led by a committee for protection of the state’s interests on Cauvery -- ‘Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi’ — disrupted traffic in Mandya, Maddur and Srirangapatna towns.

Cauvery Hitharakshana Samithi president G Madegowda said farmers would lay siege to K.R.S reservoir and would not allow water release.

Karnataka has already filed a plea before the Cauvery River Authority seeking review of its order for releasing 9,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu till October 20, which was upheld by the Supreme Court today.

State Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the state would explore all legal avenues to protect the state’s interest.

In Bangalore, activists belonging to pro-Kannada outfit ’Karnataka Rakshana Vedike’ protested in front of chief minister’s official residence ‘Krishna’ by shouting slogans against the apex court order. Over 20 agitators were taken into preventive custody, police said.

Meanwhile, Opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah urged the government not to release water to Tamil Nadu.

He claimed that Tamil Nadu does not require water at this stage and Karnataka is itself facing acute shortage of water due to unprecedented drought conditions.

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