Karnataka releases water, faces protest

Hours after Karnataka began to release 10,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, as directed by the Supreme Court, the Congress and the JD-S took up the issue to target the ruling BJP in the Assembly on Friday.

Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah of the Congress demanded to know why the government had agreed to release the water despite a shortage in Karnataka. "Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar earlier said he would protect the interests of the state at any cost; that Cauvery water would not be released at the expense of farmers in Karnataka. Look what he has done now," he said as fellow opposition MLAs held up, repeatedly, the proceedings of the House, forcing the Speaker to adjourn it till Monday.

Siddaramaiah demanded an immediate stop to release of water and the resignation of Shettar.

Responding to him, Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa told the House that even Congress chief ministers had released water to Tamil Nadu on the directions of the Supreme Court.

Shettar, who was in Delhi to discuss the issue with the prime minister, said the earlier order of the Cauvery Monitoring Committee, headed by the PM, to Karnataka to release 12 tmcft water was "arbitrary".

"It is an arbitrary decision. The CMC had published a formula that Karnataka should release 6.12 tmcft of water during December under the distress formula," Shettar told PTI. "We will be challenging this order before the Cauvery River Authority."

The release of the water Thursday night, meanwhile, re-ignited protests in the Cauvery basin after over a month. Protesters blocked the Bangalore-Mysore highway near Mandya but they were scattered away and 15 were arrested by the police after some time.

The Cauvery Protection Samiti, led by former Congress leader G Madegowda, has called for a bandh in Mandya district on Saturday.

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