Karnataka observed a State-wide bandh, as various pro-Kannada and farmer organisations protested the State government’s decision to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. The State witnessed some unrest with protestors being detained, Section 144 being imposed and various services being ceased.

Over 2,000 farmers and pro-Kannada groups, with the support of more than 1,900 associations, across districts protested with the contention that the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu even as the State experiences drought, is not fair.

Pro-Kannada activists held sloganeering at different locations across the State and capital city Bengaluru. Officially, a protest procession from Town Hall to Freedom Park in Bengaluru. Protest rallies took place in various other regions and districts too. Some protestors were seen blocking highways and toll gates. Anticipating unrest, Section 144 was imposed in Bengaluru.

State police detained over 100 protestors on Friday, across various locations in Bengaluru. Some unrest was witnessed near Freedom Park and near Karnataka- Tamil Nadu border Attibele, leading to detentions. Some protest groups also burned posters and effigies of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin in Bengaluru and in districts near the Cauvery basin.

Flights cancelled

Protestors were even seen creating a ruckus at the Kempegowda International Airport, which was controlled later. Amid chaos, 44 flights including 22 arrivals and 22 departures have been cancelled today, according to airport PRO. 

All non-essential services remained shut. State officials had declared a holiday for schools and colleges, and offices took to the work-from-home(WFH) model for the day.  Private transport services, inclusive of ride-hailing platforms remained ceased. Essential and emergency services and metro services in the State were available. 

The protest is against the State government’s decision to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Following the recommendation of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC), the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) recently directed Karnataka to keep releasing 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for an additional 15 days. Amid unrest, State Chief Minister Siddaramiah and Deputy CM D.K.Shivakumar will be holding a meeting to discuss the row.