Karnataka Cabinet today decided not to oppose the bail pleas of “innocents” who have been booked following violent protest that rocked northern parts of the state recently against a tribunal’s interim order rejecting its claim of water from the inter-state Mahadayi river. Citing certain legal procedures that are against direct withdrawal of cases against the protesters, the government said a proposal to this effect will be placed before the Cabinet after following the due process of law.
“Cabinet has in detail discussed about the violence that occurred. We have decided to not to oppose the bail of innocents who have been arrested and get them released on bail,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters here after the Cabinet meeting. Tension had gripped most parts of northern Karnataka like Gadag, Hubballi, Dharwad, Haveri, Belagavi, Naragunda, Navalagunda and other places as the protest had turned violent on July 28 during which government offices had come under attack and damage was caused to public property.
About 187 persons have been booked and 25 FIRs were registered following the violent protest against the rejection of Karnataka’s plea for release of 7.56 tmcft for drinking water projects. Seven cases among them are non-bailable. Jayachandra said he along with Home Minister G Parameshwara have been authorised by the Cabinet to follow up with the further course of action.
“We will take steps and get them released on bail first, because it is process of law and we have to approach court only through prosecutor,” he added. A team, headed by Additional Director General of Police Raghavendra Auradkar and the Director of Prosecution, was formed to look into the authenticity of the cases.
Parameshwara said there was a separate process for withdrawal of cases and government was ready for that process.
“According to CrPC section 321 we cannot withdraw without filing the charge sheet, without this process we cannot even go before the Cabinet, after completing this process we will go before Cabinet for withdrawal,” he said.
Karnataka government, which has locked horns with neighboring Goa on the issue of sharing Mahadayi River water between the states, had petitioned the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal seeking 7.56 tmcft of water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project, aimed at improving water supply to Hubbali-Dharwad and Belagavi and Gadag districts.
The tribunal had rejected state’s plea citing grounds like ecological damage that the project may cause. ADGP Kamal Pant has been appointed by the government to probe into the alleged police excesses during the protests. Stressing that the government had already suspended a sub-inspector, inspector and eight constables, Parameshwara said, “We are waiting for ADGP Kamal Pant’s report; on the basis of the report action will be taken.”