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Protests gain strength in Bangalore

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IN ONE VOICE: Members of the Advocates' Association taking out a procession from Vakilara Bhavan to Raj Bhavan in protest against the verdict of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: K. Gopinathan
IN ONE VOICE: Members of the Advocates' Association taking out a procession from Vakilara Bhavan to Raj Bhavan in protest against the verdict of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: K. Gopinathan

Staff Reporter

Congress MLAs participate in dharna; lawyers take out processions

BANGALORE: Protests against the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal gained momentum on Wednesday with some Congress MLAs from Bangalore and members of the Advocates' Association of Bangalore staging demonstrations in the city.

Besides, several Kannada organisations also took out processions and held protest meetings at over 20 places in the city, which has been heavily policed over the last few days.

The demonstration organised by the Youth Congress near Gandhi statue on M.G. Road was significant as this was the first by a political party after the tribunal pronounced the award on Monday.

The Congress MLAs from the city, Ramalinga Reddy (Jayanagar), Roshan Baig (Jayamahal), V. Somanna (Binnypet), Dinesh Gundu Rao (Gandhinagar), M.R. Seetharam (Malleswaram) and K. Chandrashekar (Basavanagudi), were among those who participated in the dharna.

Party workers raised slogans against the tribunal and said that the interests of the Karnataka farmers would be affected if the award was implemented.

Hundreds of advocates, under the aegis of Advocates' Association of Bangalore, took out processions from the magistrate court complex on Nrupatunga Road and City Civil Court on Old Post Office Road to the Vidhana Soudha, bringing traffic to a near halt in the central business district for over an hour.

There was tension for some time as the advocates had heated exchanges with the police officers, who tried to stop them from proceeding towards the Vidhana Soudha.

Police had a tough time convincing the lawyers against proceeding towards the Vidhana Soudha as ban orders were in force in the area in view of the legislature session.

Later, office-bearers of the association marched to the Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum to officials in the absence of the Governor T.N. Chaturvedi there.

The advocates also decided to support the Karnataka bandh called by Kannada organisations on February 12.

As the advocates struck work, all the courts, including the High Court, wore a deserted look. Scores of cases in the High Court, including the Umesh Reddy death sentence case being heard by a Division Bench comprising Justice N.S. Veerabhadraiah and Justice Jawad Rahim, were adjourned.

Many courts in the High Court did not have their sitting in the afternoon as advocates were not present.

Meanwhile, around 30 people, led by the former Minister H.N. Nanje Gowda, were arrested when they barged into the passenger lounge at the Bangalore airport, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) Soumendu Mukerjee told The Hindu.

Demonstrations were also staged by members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Akhila Karnataka Praja Parishat, Kannada Chaluvali Horatagarara Rajya Samithi, Kannada Vedike, Cauvery Kannadigara Vedike and Karnataka Rathna Yuvakara Sangha at Malleswaram, CTO Circle, Koramangala, South End Circle in Basavanagudi and Kurabarahalli Circle in Mahalakshmipuram.

DSS charge

The Cauvery award is "unscientific" and fails to take into account crucial factors such as groundwater sources and soil quality, Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (N. Murthy faction) has alleged.

Speaking to presspersons here on Wednesday, Mr. Murthy said that the verdict was making people lose faith in the judicial process and forcing them to suspect that the decision was "politically motivated".

MPs and Union Ministers from Karnataka should take responsibility for the verdict and resign, he added.

DSS, along with other organisations, was holding a series of protests culminating in the bundh on February 12, Mr. Murthy said.

`Reject award'

Hassan Staff Correspondent reports:

The KRRS group of Kodihalli Chandrashekar has urged the Government to reject the tribunal verdict.

Mr. Chandrashekar described the verdict as "most unscientific."

He also criticised the remarks of Girish Karnad, playwright, on the issue.

Mr. Chandrashekar said Mr. Karnad's statement was against the interests of Karnataka.

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