Government accused of not protecting their interests

: Farmers protesting against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu mobbed the district in-charge Minister S.A. Ramdas here on Saturday and criticised the BJP government for its failure to uphold the State’s interests.

The farmers had assembled outside the Cauvery Command Area Development Authority (CADA) office, which was closed as it was a second Saturday. Later, they assembled at the adjoining Rachaiah Circle. They raised slogans against the State government and then decided to shift the venue of protest to K.R. Circle, where staging demonstrations has been banned by the police.

Though the police appealed to the farmers against assembling at K.R. Circle, the latter persisted and marched towards the circle. At this juncture, the convoy of Mr. Ramdas was passing by and the farmers stopped it to seek an explanation from him.

There was a heated exchange of words and when Mr.Ramdas said that water had not been released, the farmers lost their cool and shouted down the Minister. “As elected representatives you have taken the people for a ride and now you dare to lie openly that water has not been released,” the farmers said.

As tension mounted, the police threw a security cordon around the Minister and ushered him away from the spot. The agitating farmers, about 50 of them led by sugarcane cultivators’ association president Kurubur Shanthakumar, left for Krishnaraja Sagar to protest at the dam site.

A few farmers waited at the helipad anticipating the arrival of the Chief Minister, who was to participate in the Suttur jatra mahotsava. But the farmers were disappointed as the Chief Minister’s visit to Mysore and Suttur was cancelled, perhaps in anticipation of trouble.