The Supreme Court’s direction on Friday to the State government to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu has led to consternation in Mandya district.
Farmers, who anticipated a decision in favour of Karnataka, have threatened to commit suicide by jumping into the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir if the State government “ventures” to implement the Supreme Court directive to release water, as ordered by the Cauvery River Authority.
The Mandya police, soon after the Supreme Court’s directive, sent a large posse of police force to the reservoir near Srirangapatna to prevent untoward incidents.
‘People are supreme’
“We [people] are supreme, not courts or governments,” Mandya Zilla Raitha Hitarakshana Samiti president and former MP G. Made Gowda said. The State government should not release water to Tamil Nadu when the farmers here were losing their crops due to shortage of water, Mr. Gowda, who has been in the forefront of Cauvery agitation for more than two decades, said.
“Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar must abide by his assurances of not releasing water to Tamil Nadu. He should not worry about the constitutional obligations,” Mr. Gowda said.
Mass suicide threat
Meanwhile, farmers in Mandya, Srirangapatna and Pandavapura have threatened to end their lives by jumping into the KRS reservoir if the State government released water to Tamil Nadu.
“We have no option to safeguard the interests of farmers except jumping into the KRS reservoir in protest against Supreme Court’s directive,” a senior leader of the samiti told The Hindu here on Friday.
“We have considered Guruswamy (a gram panchayat member from Beechanahalli in Mysore district, who died after jumping into the Kabini reservoir in 2002) as an example in this issue. We too have decided to follow Guruswamy for protecting the interests of farmers here,” the samiti leader said.
Mr. Gowda said: “The farmers in large numbers will sleep in front of crest gates if the State government ventures to implement Supreme Court's direction.”
Whatever police protection may be provided to the reservoir, the farmers brigade (raitha sainya) will face it; Mr. Gowda said and warned that the law and order situation would deteriorate if water was released to Tamil Nadu.
“We (farmers) will also hold lathis (batons) to fight against the police force if they prevent us from staging protests near KRS reservoir,” Mr. Gowda said.
“We have intensified patrolling in the vicinity of KRS reservoir,” Mandya Superintendent of Police Koushalendra Kumar said.
“We are monitoring the situation besides deploying additional police force at vital installations and along the highway,” he said.
The Mandya police have also formed special teams and patrolling squads to monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, people across the district on Friday came on to the streets and criticised the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for recommending that the State release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.
Members of the samiti, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Hasiru Sene and other organisations blocked vehicular movements on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway at several places in Srirangapatna, Mandya and Maddur.
Meanwhile, the former minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar and others participated in the “continuous protests” being staged by the samiti.