Cauvery dispute: India's top court asks Karnataka to release water for two days

The two states -- Karnataka & Tamil Nadu -- have been fighting for decades over sharing of the Cauvery river waters. This bout of violence was brought about after the Supreme Court ordered Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of water by September 16 Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 27, 2016, 10.32 AM (IST)

India’s Supreme Court today directed the state of Karnataka to immediately release water from the Cauvery river to its neighbour Tamil Nadu.

The dispute over Cauvery waters has led to violence in both the southern Indian states in recent days.

The country’s apex court has now given the federal government time up to Friday to get chief ministers of both the states to sit together and discuss the issue.

Karnataka had yesterday said it could not release 6,000 cusecs of water daily for a week, an order that was given by the Supreme Court on September 21. It argued that they could only release that quantum of water in December.

However, Supreme Court judges have today asked Karnataka to release the water today and tomorrow, while further arguments are heard by the court.

Distribution of Cauvery water has been a point of contention between the two states for over a century.

The latest bout of violence was triggered by a Supreme Court order on September 5, which had directed Karnataka to release more water to Tamil Nadu for 10 days in order to help its farmers.

While Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had agreed to it, the state degenerated into a crucible of ugly passions. Two people have died in the clashes and hundreds of protesters have been arrested for arson and vandalism.

The Cauvery originates in Karnataka and flows into Tamil Nadu before meeting the Bay of Bengal.