Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah addressed the intensifying protests over the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, stating that his government will not curtail them, but emphasised the importance of maintaining peace. He also pledged to present a stronger argument before the Supreme Court regarding the issue when it comes up for the next hearing, reaffirming the state's commitment to protecting its interests.
In response to protests and bandhs called over the Cauvery issue, Siddaramaiah asserted that in a democracy, the government would not curtail protests, but accused the BJP and JD(S) of playing politics on the matter.
The Supreme Court had recently refused to interfere with the Cauvery Water Management Authority's order, which directed Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu. Karnataka had cited water scarcity due to deficit monsoon rains as the reason for not releasing the water.
"We had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the orders of the Cauvery Water Management Authority, and Regulation Committee. The court rejected our partition, also Tamil Nadu's. They (TN) initially sought 24,000 cusecs, then 7,200 cusecs, we said we can't even give 5,000 cusecs, as there is no water," Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, "The Apex Court did not accept it, and the matter is coming before the Court on September 26.
We will place our argument more forcefully."
Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar also commented on the issue, stating that while protests are a democratic right, they should not lead to difficulties for the public. He cautioned against calls for bandhs without considering court orders, as they may have legal repercussions. He mentioned the government's discussion of cloud seeding and the challenges ahead in releasing water.
"Our party people too called and spoke to me about the protest, I said, it's your right and protect it but one has to understand about court orders before calling for protests or bandh, just giving such calls for media publicity is not right, as such calls may have legal repercussions," he said, adding that keeping everything in mind, let them decide.
Shivakumar highlighted the government's commitment to protecting the state's interests, even though they are in a difficult situation. He emphasised that cooperation from the public is essential for the success of a bandh and mentioned the lack of consensus among various organizations regarding the bandh call. He concluded by stating that the government would not interfere in the matter.