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Karnataka farmers try to lay siege to reservoirs

Opposing the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, thousands of farmers and activists tried to lay siege to the Cauvery and Kabini reservoirs in Karnataka on Wednesday.

Three Lok Sabha members – two from the Congress and one from the Janata Dal [Secular] – joined the agitators, who sought an immediate halt to the daily release of 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu that started on Saturday on the directives of the Supreme Court.

Karnataka is opposing the water release on the ground that the state is suffering from worst drought in 40 years.

The main protest was held at the Krishnaraja Sagar dam built across the Cauvery, about 150 kilometres from Bengaluru, and a small protest at the Kabini dam, around 220 kilometres from here, built across the Kabini, a tributary of the Cauvery.

The Congress MPs A H Vishwanath and R Dhurvanarayana joined the agitators at the Kabini dam while N Cheluvarayaswamy of the Janata Dal [Secular] was at the Krishnaraja Sagar dam. Hundreds of police personnel have been deployed at both dams. The agitators have defied the ban on any gathering of five or more people within the one kilometre radius of the Krishnaraja Sagar dam, imposed by district authorities late on Tuesday.

Hundreds of activists led by the popular Kannada actor and former Congress Lok Sabha member M H Ambareesh and many religious leaders left for the Krishnaraja Sagar dam from Bengaluru on Wednesday afternoon after a rally was held in the city.
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