Staff Correspondent

Violent protests will weaken the cause, says legal expert Channabasappa

  • `Do not to harbour hatred towards any linguistic group'
  • Leaders suggest padayatra from Mandya to Bangalore

    MANDYA: In a bid to restrain the restive farmers of Karnataka from taking the law into their own hands in the wake of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's final order, farmer's leaders sought to propagate the Mahatma Gandhi's ideals of non-violence and peace in continuing the struggle.

    Several of them who gathered on the Silver Jubilee Park in Mandya on Tuesday for a meeting convened by the Cauvery Raitha Hitarakshana Samithi reminded the angry farmers that Gandhiji's non-violent means of protest should be adopted for the struggle.

    Beginning with Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) president K.S. Puttannaiah, the principles of Mahatma Gandhi were recalled by almost all speakers. However, it was noted legal expert Ko. Channabasappa who elaborated on Gandhiji's "ahimsa marg" and advised farmers to show restraint in staging road-blockades and rail-rokos and burning effigies.

    Mr. Channabasappa cited his personal experience during a road blockade when he was trying desperately to reach someone in hospital in Mysore. "The patient's condition was bad and he had to be rushed to a hospital in Mysore. The protesters refused to budge despite my pleas," he said.

    Cautioning farmers against causing damage to public property, Mr. Channabasappa said such violent protests would weaken their cause.

    He appealed to farmers against harbouring hatred towards Tamils or any particular linguistic group.

    "We should not be against Tamils. We know that Tamils do not want farmers of Karnataka to die," he said.

    The KRRS leader Sunanda Jayaram also propagated non-violence and called upon farmers to remain calm despite their "frustration" over the verdict.

    "The nature of protest should be responsible and staged with a sense of purpose and commitment," she added.

    Kanakapura Lok Sabha MP Tejaswini Sriramesh took a leaf from Mahatma Gandhi's book to suggest a padayatra from Mandya to Raj Bhavan in Bangalore to protest against the tribunal's verdict.

    Ms. Sriramesh suggested that farmers, their leaders and elected representatives from Karnataka go to New Delhi to stage a dharna there against the verdict when the Parliament was convened on February 23.

    Former Minister and irrigation expert H.N. Nanjegowda urged the Cauvery Raitha Hitarakshana Horata Samithi to announce a date for the padayatra from Mandya to Raj Bhavan. Though elderly people such as veteran farmers' leader and samithi president G. Made Gowda and myself may not be able to walk the entire distance, some arrangement could be made, he added. However, the leaders of the samithi said the matter would be discussed later .