Cauvery water row: Karnataka decides to obey apex court's order

Karnataka state's chief minister Siddaramaiah in an emergency cabinet meeting decided to adhere to the apex court's order passed yesterday Photograph:( AFP )

New Delhi, India Sep 13, 2016, 03.00 PM (IST)
Karnataka state government decided on Tuesday to comply with the Supreme Court's modified order to release 12,000 cusecs of water Tamil Nadu state till September 20.

Normalcy seemed to return to the southern Bengaluru in India's Karnataka, which was on boil yesterday, following top court decision's calling on state government to divert some of the water from the Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu state.

State chief minister Siddaramaiah in an emergency cabinet meeting decided to adhere to the apex court's order passed yesterday.

"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.

India's tech hub of Bengaluru remained under curfew today, while the death toll in the unrest over Cauvery row rose to two.

A 30-year-old man died today of multiple injuries he suffered while escaping police lathi (baton) charge when he jumped in panic from a three-storey building here yesterday, police said. A protester was killed in police firing yesterday over southern Karnataka state's long-running Cauvery water dispute with neighbouring Tamil Nadu 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that riots over access to river water in Bengaluru, also called as India's silicon Valley, this week were "distressful" and the dispute must be resolved peacefully. In a series of tweets, he appealed to the people of both the states to maintain calm.

"One person died when the police fired to disperse a mob attempting to torch a patrolling police vehicle after ransacking a provisions shop in the city's north," T.R. Suresh, deputy commissioner for Bangalore north told AFP. The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for Umesh, a petrol pump employee, who died amid outbreak of violence on Monday  when angry protesters torched vehicles and pelted stones at people. 

Prohibitory orders under section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that does not allow gathering of more than four people. 

In the wake of protests, Indian government rushed ten units of Rapid Action Forces (RAF)  on Monday to contain the situation. Thousands of police and paramilitary officers remain deployed on the largely deserted streets of the southern city. 

Meanwhile, at least 200 protesters from Bengaluru have been arrested, officials said, in a bid to quell the violence, which has forced shops, businesses, and schools to close.

"We have imposed a curfew for three days from early Tuesday in the city's northwest, southwest, northeast and central areas to maintain peace and prevent untoward incidents during the festival week," Bangalore police commissioner N.S Megharikh told reporters, referring to the Muslim holiday of Eid.

The police has appealed the people not to indulge in rumour-mongering and check social media handles for updates. 

India suffers severe water shortages that cause frequent tensions between states and the row over the Cauvery river stretches back decades.

(WION with inputs from agencies)