Complying with the Supreme Court’s order to provide 2.44 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu immediately, the Karnataka government on Saturday afternoon began releasing water amid tight security.

Irrigation Department officials, after getting a directive from the government, released water from the Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir (KRS) near Srirangapatna.

The outflow was 1,000 cusecs at 12.15 p.m. and it crossed 2,000 cusecs at 5.30 p.m. The officials said the quantum would cross 8,000 cusecs on Sunday.

Officials of the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. (CNNL) and the Irrigation Department held a meeting near the reservoir before releasing water.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai held a discussion on Saturday morning and decided to comply with the court order, CNNL officials, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Hindu.

The release, however, prompted protests in the district. Members of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) gathered at the reservoir and staged a protest.

The farmers, led by KRRS leader K.S. Nanjundegowda, raised slogans against the government for sharing water with Tamil Nadu when Karnataka farmers were in distress.

Another leader, K.S. Puttannaiah, staged a protest near the Inspection Bungalow on the Bangalore-Mysore highway here. Vehicular movement was disrupted.

Members of the Kesturu Karnataka Janapara Vedike too staged a protest near the Nimishamba temple in Srirangapatna and shouted slogans. They urged Mr. Shettar to stop water release.

The former Chief Minister and president of the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP), B.S. Yeddyurappa, along with the former Ministers, Shobha Karandlaje and B.J. Puttaswamy, and others also staged a protest near the reservoir.

Similar protests were held in different parts of the district.

The Mandya district administration has clamped an order under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, besides banning entry of tourists to the Brindavan Gardens.