Normalcy returns, Karnataka decides to obey SC modified order
Bengaluru, Sep 13, 2016 (PTI): A day after being rocked by large-scale violence, the city appeared to limp back to normal today with sporadic protests, even as the Karnataka government decided to comply with the Supreme Court’s modified order to release 12,000 cusecs of water Tamil Nadu till September 20.
As the Cauvery unrest kept the country’s IT capital on the boil, the government warned of dealing with an “iron hand” any violence after an emergency cabinet meeting which took stock of the situation and decided to comply with the Apex Court order passed yesterday.
A 30-year-old man died today of multiple injuries he suffered while escaping police lathicharge when he jumped in panic from a three-storey building here yesterday, police said, with the toll in the unrest over Cauvery row rising to two.
One person had died in police firing yesterday.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the victim did not die due to police action, but due to the injuries he had suffered.
Facing more pressure after the Apex Court’s modified order, Siddaramaiah held an emergency cabinet meeting which decided that though it was “most difficult” to follow, the direction could not be disobeyed or rejected as it would be against the Constitution.
“This order is the most difficult to follow. But when we are functioning within the framework of the Constitution, though it is a difficult order, as a constitutionally formed government it is difficult to violate or reject the Supreme Court order. It will be a violation of the Constitution,” he told reporters here.
Siddaramaiah said the cabinet, after weighing the pros and cons “constitutionally, legally and politically” and keeping in mind the main Special Leave Petition challenging the Cauvery tribunal’s final award coming up on October 18, decided to obey the court order.
He said the first order passed on September 5 itself was difficult and yesterday’s was “most difficult” to follow.
“But we have accepted the federal set up and that the legislature, executive and judiciary should function in a way complementary to one another,” he said
In its September 5 order, the Apex Court had directed release of 15,000 cusecs for 10 days to ameliorate the plight of farmers of the neighbouring state, which had triggered strong protests from farmers and pro-Kannada outfits with Karnataka observing a bandh against it on September 9.
The chief minister said he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention and requesting him to call a meeting of Chief Ministers of both states to resolve the issue.
An immediate appointment had been sought and “probably we will get it tomorrow.”
In Bengaluru, under prohibitory orders till tomorrow and where 16 localities remained under curfew, there were palpable signs of normalcy returning, as city police assisted by central forces kept a close vigil.
A bus that was half burnt yesterday was torched once again today near New Timber layout and another vehicle was also set on fire near Tigalarapalya here. Both had Tamil Nadu registration number plates.
Police lobbed tear gas at Hegganahalli and Pattegarapalaya as protesters tried to burn tyres on the streets, defying curfew.
Police are also conducting combing operations in several sensitive areas and dispersing crowds that are gathering.
Home Minister G Parameshwara said the Police Commissioner would decide on continuing or lifting of curfew depending on the situation.
Sporadic protests have been reported in various parts of the state like Mandya, Chitradurga, Ramanagara and Mysuru.
In Chitradurga, a lorry with Tamil Nadu registration number was burnt, while in Ramanagara protesters held demonstrations in front of a farmhouse reportedly belonging to a daughter of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
Shooting of a Tamil film was stopped by protesters at Jaganmohan palace in Mysuru, police said.
In a video message to the people, Siddaramaiah warned of stringent action against any act of vandalism or disturbance to peace.
Stating that some organisations and political forces were behind yesterday’s violence, Parameshwara said more than 300 people have been arrested so far and more arrests would follow.
It is government’s responsibility to protect public and their property and “we will do our work without any hesitation,” he added.
Asked whether the government had failed in assessing the situation yesterday and in maintaining law and order, he said, “We did our best and we showed some sort of tolerance, but that has been misused.”
Pointing out that the violence was an instantaneous reaction to the developments in Tamil Nadu, Parameshwara said, “We have controlled it as far as possible, or else there were chances of it going out of control and more loss of lives.”
He said that other than a couple of stray incidents, the situation is peaceful.
Parameshwara said the government has decided to give Rs 10 lakh compensation each to families of the two persons killed.
Sidddaramaiah held consultations with senior Congress leaders from the state on the prevailing situation.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge sought the Prime Minister’s intervention.
He said the Prime Minister has to convene a meeting of Chief Ministers of riparian states for an out-of-court settlement of the issue.
“I request the Prime Minister at this critical juncture as it involves inter-state water dispute. His role is important for peaceful settlement of the dispute, he said.
The bustling IT city was bereft of its monstrous traffic with very few vehicles moving on city roads. Schools, colleges and government offices also remained shut due to Bakrid today.
Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation operated buses in select areas in the city, where cab aggregators and autorickshaws also plied, though in lesser numbers.
Officials said transport services to Tamil Nadu remain suspended. Metro Rail services have been temporarily stopped.