Karnataka Bandh | Vatal Nagaraj condemns State government’s use of brute force to stifle protest over Cauvery row

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Vatal Nagaraj and others staging protest against Cauvery river water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamilnadu, in Bengaluru on September 28, 2023.

Vatal Nagaraj and others staging protest against Cauvery river water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamilnadu, in Bengaluru on September 28, 2023.
| Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Vatal Nagaraj, President of the Kannada Okkuta, which has called for Karnataka Bandh over the inter-state Cauvery river water dispute, came out of his house wearing a burkha with an empty plastic water pot on his head on September 29, 2023. He said he was wearing a burqa because black signified protest and the empty water pot signified women’s struggle for drinking water during the ongoing cauvery struggle.

Vatal Nagaraj, President of the Kannada Okkuta, came out of his house wearing a burkha with an empty plastic water pot on his head on September 29, 2023 as part of the Karnataka Bandh. 

Vatal Nagaraj, President of the Kannada Okkuta, came out of his house wearing a burkha with an empty plastic water pot on his head on September 29, 2023 as part of the Karnataka Bandh. 
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“We do not even have enough water for drinking purposes and Tamil Nadu is asking for water for agriculture. It is the women of the State who suffer the brunt of lack of drinking water. So I have worn a burqa to express my solidarity with these women and highlight the drinking water crisis looming over the state,” he said.

Mr. Nagaraj came down heavily against the State government for releasing Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu and using police force to prevent Friday’s bandh and arrest protestors. “Water Resources Minister and Home Minister have said the government won’t allow a bandh. The government has denied permission for us to hold a protest rally at Town Hall. What would have happened if we had held a protest rally at Town Hall? Why restrict all protests to Freedom Park? This is an undemocratic move by the government,” he said.

He further said that they had planned to meet Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and submit a memorandum, but they are now reconsidering it, given the government was using the brute police force to crackdown on protestors. “Siddaramaiah seems to be not in a mood to entertain our demands,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kuruburu Shanthakumar, President of Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti, who led the Bengaluru Bandh on September 26, said while they had planned to lay siege to the chief minister’s residence in the city, they had decided not to do so, as Mr. Siddaramaiah had called them for a meeting on Friday. “We will participate in the meeting and demand that the state stops releasing water to Tamil Nadu,” he said.



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