In the wake of a call by pro-Kannada organisations for a ‘bandh’ to oppose the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from dams in Karnataka, most of the shops in the district headquarters town of Mandya, the Cauvery heartland, remained closed on Saturday.
Irrigation department officials told PTI that Karnataka was releasing 5,000 cusecs water to the neighbouring state as per the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s direction.
Raising slogans alleging injustice to Mandya, where the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam on the Cauvery river is located, the protesters took out a march here.
They appealed to the people, especially shopkeepers and owners of various other commercial establishments including petrol and diesel service stations, to cooperate by observing a total bandh.
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Extending their support, most of the shops remained shut and those who opened the shops, later closed down following the appeal by the activists.
A major protest took place at Sanjay Circle in the town where members of Mandya Rakshana Vedike, a fringe outfit, reached in the form of a bike rally.
They took out a march, raised slogans, staged a sit-in demonstration and rolled on the road alleging injustice to Mandya and Karnataka.
Security has been beefed up in the town with heavy deployment of police personnel at important places.
The Janata Dal (Secular) has extended its support to the Mandya bandh.
The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) had on Monday asked Karnataka to continue releasing 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for another 15 days, after the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) made such a recommendation last week.
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere with orders of the CWMA and CWRC directing Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, following which protests erupted in different parts of the state.
Amid continuing protests in the state over the Cauvery issue with neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the Karnataka government on Friday said it will take all necessary steps to protect the interests of the people of the state and its farmers, by ensuring water for both crops and drinking water.
Karnataka has been maintaining that it is not in a position to release water, taking into account its own requirement for drinking water and irrigation for standing crops in the Cauvery basin areas, as there has been water scarcity due to deficit monsoon rains.