July 31, 2016 4:03:40 am
A Karnataka bandh called by pro-Kannada groups and farmers’ associations Saturday to protest against an interim order of Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal evoked a strong response.
The tribunal Wednesday rejected Karnataka’s plea for 7.56 tmc of water from Mahadayi/ Mandovi river for supplying drinking water to Belagavi, Dharwad, Gadag and adjoining districts. Mahadayi flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa. Karnataka’s plea was rejected on the basis of Goa’s arguments that the river is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance in the state.
North Karnataka and the Old Mysuru region in south saw almost complete shutdown Saturday. Public vehicles stayed off roads, while petrol pumps and commercial establishments remained closed till evening. In Bengaluru, more than 70 people were arrested when they tried to enter Kempegowda International Airport. They were later released.
In Bengaluru, hundreds gathered at Town Hall and took out a procession to Freedom Park.
At a public meeting there, leader of Kannada Chaluvali Paksa Vatal Nagaraj said people of Karnataka would continue to fight till they get justice in the Mahadayi issue. “This protest is not only against the state government, but also the Union government. The PM must intervene and provide justice to people of Karnataka,” he said.
The bandh was supported by the Kannada film industry too. Film stars like Shivaraj Kumar took part in the protests.
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