Protesters Detained Across Karnataka Amid Cauvery Water Dispute
Bangalore, Karnataka – September 29, 2023
Hundreds of pro-Kannada activists have been detained in various parts of Karnataka as the state witnesses a massive bandh (shutdown) in protest against the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu. The bandh, which commenced at 6 am, saw passionate demonstrations and sloganeering by pro-Kannada groups in different locations. The authorities have taken stringent measures to control the situation, resulting in the detention of protesters from different organisations across the state.
Chaos at Bengaluru International Airport as Protesters Block Flights
The impact of the bandh was felt significantly at the Bengaluru International Airport, where 44 flights were canceled due to the unrest. Chaos ensued at the airport when protesters reached the premises and raised slogans, disrupting airport activities. Airport security later detained the agitators, bringing a temporary calm to the situation. The cancellation of flights has inconvenienced many travelers, highlighting the far-reaching consequences of the ongoing protests.
Protest Rallies and Educational Institutions Shut Down Across Karnataka
Throughout the day, several protest rallies unfolded in different parts of Karnataka, including the state capital, Bengaluru. Pro-Kannada activists expressed their discontent over the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu through these rallies. In solidarity with the bandh, educational institutions in Bengaluru and Mandya districts remained closed, affecting thousands of students. Additionally, Section 144 has been imposed in Bengaluru, restricting public gatherings and ensuring law and order in the city.
Shops, malls, and commercial establishments across Karnataka are closed. Hotels, restaurants, and film theatres are not operational. Auto and taxi services are also suspended.
Metro and Transport Services
Bengaluru Metro rail continues to function. State Transport Department has directed state transport corporations to maintain regular services.
Essential Services Operational
Banks, hospitals, pharmacies, and government offices are functioning as usual, ensuring essential services for the residents.
Karnataka is witnessing widespread protests and disruptions as pro-Kannada activists express their opposition to the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. The detention of hundreds of protesters, cancellation of flights, and closure of educational institutions mark the intensity of the ongoing bandh. The situation remains tense, with security forces deployed across the state to maintain law and order. As the day unfolds, authorities continue to monitor the developments closely, aiming to restore normalcy in the affected regions.
Support from Various Associations
The Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, Ola Uber Drivers and Owners’ Association (OUDOA), Bruhath Bangaluru Hotel Association, and Karnataka State Private Schools’ Association are supporting the bandh in Karnataka.
High Alert in Border Districts
Districts sharing borders with Tamil Nadu in Karnataka are on high alert due to the shutdown. Security measures have been heightened, and checkpoints are closely monitored.
Precautions by Tamil Nadu Police
Tamil Nadu police chief directed Superintendents of Police in border districts like Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Salem, Erode, and Nilgiris to take precautionary measures. Increased security deployment has been observed at checkpoints on the Tamil Nadu side.
Helpline Numbers Issued
Authorities have issued helpline numbers (9498170430 and 9498215407) for people facing issues during the shutdown. Citizens are encouraged to contact these helpline numbers for assistance.
Intensification of Protests
Protests against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu escalated after the Supreme Court declined to intervene in the decisions of Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC), instructing Karnataka to release water.
Government Response and Deputy CM’s Statement
Amid the protests, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar assured that the situation was under control and the bandh was progressing peacefully. He stated, “Karnataka bandh is totally peaceful… All the people are cooperating. We have given full protection to everyone. We requested the institutions not to call for a bandh since there is no consent from the Supreme Court or High Court.” Deputy CM Shivakumar emphasized the government’s stance on the legality of the bandh, highlighting the absence of court consent for such protests.