This Week Karnataka: A ceasefire offer that found no takers

A ceasefire offer that found no takers

On September 15, the state government announced a week-long ceasefire to enable Naxals to surrender. It was ordered by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar after receiving a Naxal offer to surrender through intermediaries. "We have not forced them. They have come forward," the government said. The September 17-23 ceasefire ended without a single Naxal surrendering. The story in security circles is that the government was lured into buying the surrender story by a television reporter and a highly connected former top cop. A list of 15 alleged Naxals who would surrender was also circulated. But those in it were either out on bail or small-time operatives; it included none of the most wanted Naxal leaders of a bunch of around 25 known to be active in Karnataka. Security officials are now wondering if the failed proposal may have only helped the Naxals regroup.

Dispute and trend

Farmers of the Cauvery basin in Karnataka always pray for a good monsoon. When the chief minister of neighbouring Tamil Nadu is J Jayalalithaa, their prayers tend to be stronger. In both 1991-92 and 2002, when the water dispute took ugly turns, Jayalalithaa was chief minister. This year with the monsoon failing, farmers on the Karnataka saide had their fingers crossed, until the retreating monsoon brought good rains. "We don't know what it is, but when Jayalalithaa is at the helm, these disputes tend to be accentuated," said a farmer. Incidentally, Jaya was born in Mandya district of the Cauvery basin, granddaughter of a surgeon in the Mysore royalty.

Northern break

Agriculture Minister Umesh Katti created a stir ahead of the inauguration of a new government administration facility in Belgaum by stating that India needs to further break up its states for effective administration. He foresees as many as 65 states in the future,one of these North Karnataka including Belgaum. The statement is widely seen as an attempt to provide leverage to a regional political outfit that former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa plans to launch in December. Katti, like Yeddyurappa, is a member of the Lingayat community that is predominant in north Karnataka.

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