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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Karnataka: 30 Congress leaders booked for flouting Covid norms during Mekedatu march

Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and state chief of the party DK Shivakumar are some of the Congress leaders booked for going ahead with the Mekedatu march without permission.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
Updated: January 10, 2022 6:25:51 pm
Karnataka Congress, D K Shivakumar, K SiddaramaiahFormer Karnataka chief minister K Siddaramaiah and KPCC president D K Shivakumar. (Twitter/@DKShivakumar)

Karnataka police on Sunday booked 30 Congress leaders, including opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and state chief of the party DK Shivakumar, for allegedly violating Covid-19 norms during the ‘walk for water’ march demanding the implementation of the Mekedatu drinking water project, caught in a legal wrangle with Tamil Nadu.

Based on a complaint at the Sathanur police station by Vishwanath, tahsildar of Kanakapura town in Ramanagara district, the police registered a case under various sections of the IPC and the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act. DK Suresh, Veerappa Moily, G Parameshara and Eshwara Khandre are some of the other Congress leaders booked.

Despite the police denying permission for the march, the Congress leaders went ahead with it flouting Covid-19 protocols and weekend curfew posing threat to the lives of people, the FIR stated.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai urged the participants of the march to cooperate with the health department. “The government is concerned about the health of those who are participating in Mekedatu padayatra. The health department has to check the health condition of those who take the long walk,” he said.

“Whoever violates the Covid rules, whether a common man or a big leader, there is no difference. Action will be taken according to the law,” Bommai added.

DK Shivakumar, meanwhile, said: “Why only 30 people were booked, let the government book all those who participated in the march and put us in jail.”

Mallikarjun Kharge launched the Mekedatu march at Sangama in Ramanagara district, the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers on Sunday. The 179-km march from Mekedatu to Bengaluru is set to cover 15 assembly constituencies before culminating with a public meeting at the Basavanagudi grounds in the state capital on January 19.

The Rs 9,000-crore Mekedatu reservoir and drinking water project across the Cauvery river in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district plans to utilise 4.75 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water for drinking purposes in Bengaluru and neighbouring areas, besides generating 400 MW power. However, Tamil Nadu is opposed to it, saying that it would hamper the interests of the state and deprive its farmers of water for irrigation purposes.

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