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Five jump into Kabini, one missing

By Our Staff Correspondent

MYSORE Sept. 18. The agitation against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu took a turn for the worse today after five farmers jumped into the Kabini Reservoir in H.D.Kote taluk near here.

While four of the farmers were rescued, one was feared drowned.

The missing man was identified as Guruswamy, a gram panchayat member of Beechanahalli, which adjoins the reservoir. Although police confirmed that one person was feared dead, they refused to term it a suicide.

"They could have gone for a swim. Details are awaited," a police official told The Hindu.

According to sources, the five, whose names were given as Kumara, Shivalungu, Murugesh, Ramesh, and Guruswamy, broke away from a group of demonstrators outside the reservoir this afternoon after police prevented them from entering the dam.

They came to a bridge across the river and jumped into the water.

Meanwhile, H.D.Kote remained tense as police lobbed teargas shells and caned a large mob of farmers. Prohibitory orders remained in force.

About 10,000 cusecs of water is being released from the Kabini Reservoir to Tamil Nadu every day.

The water level in the dam has come down to 2,274.75 ft (above sea level) against the maximum level of 2,282 ft.

The quantum of usable water in Kabini came down to 4.33 tmcft on Wednesday. Farmers from Beechanahalli staged a protest in front of the reservoir today, voicing their concern over the fast depleting water level in the dam.

According to Irrigation Department officials, the gross storage capacity of the reservoir is 19.5 tmcft.

Because of continuous release of water in the past few days, the quantity of usable water has come down to 4.33 tmcft.

`Jail bharo'

The "jail bharo" agitation intensified in Mandya today with more than 250 people, including 70 women, courting arrest.

The day saw a deluge of processions in the town, which has become a hotbed of Cauvery-related agitations.

A bullock cart procession, comprising even women and children, passed through the main streets of the town. Another procession comprising cyclists was taken out.

Traffic between Mysore and Bangalore was disrupted with farmers blocking the road at several places.

Meanwhile, the indefinite dharna continued on the Silver Jubilee Park premises, where the farmers' leaders, G.Made Gowda, and K.S.Puttannaiah, participated in the agitation.

Mr. Made Gowda cautioned the Government against taking the agitation lightly.

"If the situation goes out of hand, it may go out of the Government's control," he said.

He called upon the State Government to present the State's case properly during the September 23 hearing in the Supreme Court.

T.Narsipur bandh

The "bandh" called by farmers' organisations elicited good response in T.Narsipur today.

Shops and commercial establishments remained closed while the main thoroughfares of the town were deserted.

The Kabini Horata Samithi has called for a "bandh" in Nanjangud on September 23.

A series of protests were organised in Mysore today in support of farmers.

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