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Attempt to enter disputed area in Hogenakkal foiled

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PROTEST: Members of the Hogenakkal Ulisi Horata Samithi crossing the Cauvery in a boat at Marikottayam to reach the disputed area in Hogenakkal.
PROTEST: Members of the Hogenakkal Ulisi Horata Samithi crossing the Cauvery in a boat at Marikottayam to reach the disputed area in Hogenakkal.

Staff Correspondent

Hogenakkal Ulisi Horata Samithi members arrested, released

Forest officials deny permission as joint survey has not been completed

Samiti members claim that area belongs to Karnataka according to old surveys

Hogenakkal (Chamarajanagar district): Members of the Hogenakkal Ulisi Horata Samithi were arrested when they tried to enter the disputed area in Hogenakkal to hoist the Kannada flag to protest against the Tamilnadu Government’s move to lay the foundation stone for the proposed Rs. 1,340-crore drinking water project. They were later released at the river bank on Karnataka side.

The samithi members, led by their president Puttaraje Urs, entered the island by crossing the Cauvery in a boat arranged by the Forest Department.

The Karnataka State police, based on directions from Deputy Conservator of Forests, Cauvery Wildlife Division, Gitanjali did not permit the protesters to enter the core part of the island to hoist the Kannada flag. The protesters started raising slogans against the State Forest and Police personnel for not allowing them.

Ms. Gitanjali told the protesters that she could not permit them to enter the disputed part of the island as the joint survey to decide on the territory had not been completed.

She said that nearly one-third of the area belonged to Karnataka. However, she said that the department was unable to stop the development work taken up by the Tamilnadu Government in two-thirds of the area.

The protesters refused to accept it and said that the area belonged to Karnataka according to old surveys, marking stones, voters’ list and the ration cards given to them.

The samithi members alleged that the State Forest Department officials were colluding with the Tamilnadu authorities to favour them in the issue.

They urged Conservator of Forests, Chamarajanagar Circle, Nagaraj to allow them into the island to have a look at the old survey stone. When Mr. Nagaraj did not oblige, they gheraoed him.

Later, they withdrew their protest and urged the Forest Department to vacate the people residing illegally in the area. They also urged the department to open a check post at Hogenakkal.

The protesters said that the samithi would intensify its agitation till the Tamilnadu Government dropped the proposal. They said they would also seek legal recourse to the issue.

Sources confirmed that Tamilnadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had laid the foundation stone for the project at a function held in the Arts College at Dharmapuri.

The Tamilnadu Government had deployed hundreds of police and forest personnel in the disputed area to prevent untoward incidents.

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