Tamil Nadu bandh: Farmers bury themselves in sand in protest; 10 highlights

Tamil Nadu farmers partially bury themselves in sand.
The Opposition-sponsored bandh in Tamil Nadu on Thursday disrupted public life in the state, as well as in the neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry. Protests, fasts and demonstrations are being held against the Union government's failure to form the Cauvery Management Board (CMB). Farmers, traders, students, lawyers and film associations have joined the Opposition to protest against the Modi government. Meanwhile, in a counter to the ongoing stir in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, pro-Kannada outfits on Thursday called for a bandh in poll-bound Karnataka on April 12. 

The bandh has hit public transport as buses were off roads and shops and hotels remained shut. The main opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), along with Congress, the Communist parties and regional parties including Viduthalai Chiruthai Katchi (VCK) and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK), have called for the bandh demanding the setting up of the CMB as per a Supreme Court order. The apex court on February 16, directed the Centre to set up the authority to control the issue between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, within six weeks.

The Centre had approached the Supreme Court during at the end of March, seeking some clarification regarding the interpretation of its judgement. 

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu approached the Supreme Court alleging contempt of court against the Centre for not setting up the Board, as the lack of action violates the Court's order. The matter is listed for hearing on April 9.

The opposition parties allege that the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is weak in terms of putting pressure on the Centre to implement the CMB. The traders' association said that around 2.1 million shops across the state will be shut today as part of the protest. Petrol pumps have announced to stay open during the day.

Taking the cue from the Jallikattu protest which shook the city last year, even though it was concentrated in the Marina Beach, the government has beefed up security in locations like Marina Beach and Besant Nagar Beach to avoid any such situation. 

Here are the top 10 developments around the Tamil Nadu bandh over the Cauvery Management Board row:

1) Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation's services resume: Bus services between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu resumed after the Cauvery Management Board protest in Tamil Nadu ended in the evening on Thursday, news agency ANI reported. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) had stopped its services in the morning. 

2) Pro-Kannada outfits call for Karnataka bandh: Pro-Kannada outfits on Thursday called for a bandh in poll-bound Karnataka on April 12, in a counter to the ongoing stir in neighbouring Tamil Nadu for an early setting up of a Cauvery Management Board.   

The Karnataka bandh was announced by the outfit Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha’s leader Vatal Nagaraj during a protest near Attibele on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border to press the point that the Centre should to yield to pressure from Tamil leaders on CMB. Nagaraj heads the umbrella of Kannada organisations that have called the bandh.

He came down heavily on actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan for supporting the formation of the CMB. "We will not let the movies of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan to be shown in Karnataka. The two film stars should not come to Karnataka under any circumstances," Nagaraj said. 

3) Cauvery water dispute: Puducherry govt moves to SC

Puducherry government on Thursday moved to the Supreme Court with an interlocutory application seeking direction to the Centre to implement Cauvery water verdict in true letter and spirit immediately.

On April 2, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor (LG) Kiran Bedi urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately act on the Cauvery issue.

In a letter, Bedi urged the Prime Minister to direct the concerned Ministry of Government of India to constitute Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) forthwith without further delay as per the Supreme Court order.

"The Supreme Court judgement pronounced on 16/02/2018 confirmed the final award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in respect of quantum of water to be released to Puducherry (7 TMC). In order to release the stipulated Cauvery water from the upper reaches, it is essential to the CMB and the CWRC as envisaged in the final award of CWDT," Bedi wrote.

* Cauvery water dispute case: Puducherry government moved Supreme Court with an interlocutory application seeking direction to the Centre to implement Cauvery verdict in true letter and spirit immediately.

* DMK Working President MK Stalin carried away by police and detained during protest in Chennai over Cauvery Water Management Board issue.

4) Ban IPL match till Cauvery Mangement Board is formed: TVK

The Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) party said that they have submitted a letter to the Police Commissioner of Chennai requesting the authorities to ban Indian Premier League (IPL) match on April 10 till Cauvery Mangement Board (CMB) is formed. The party urged authorities not to organise the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.

"We have submitted our request to Police Commissioner to not let IPL match take place on April 10 till Cauvery Mangement Board is formed. If at all any match happens we will protest in the stadium," TVK leader Panruti T Velmurugan told media here on Wednesday.

"However, we assure we will not use any violence," he added.

5) Parliament logjam: The Cauvery dispute, between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, has been the reason for a lot of conflicts, with MPs from political parties of both states agitating in the Rajya Sabha regularly, causing untimely adjournment of the house.

6) Centre committing 'blunder' by not forming CMB: Haasan

The Centre is committing a "blunder" by not forming the Cauvery Management Board, Tamil actor and Makkal Neethi Maiyam president Kamal Haasan said today.

Haasan said the centre and various political parties were diverting the attention of the people from the main issue of forming the CMB.

Film bodies to join ongoing agitations over Cauvery issue: Various film bodies will join the ongoing agitations over the Cauvery issue in Tamil Nadu by staging a protest here on April 8, urging the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).

The Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC), South Indian Artistes' Association (SIAA), Film Employees' Federation of South India (FEFSI) and a distributors' association will jointly stage the protest here, a release from TFPC said. The release said the film professionals will urge the Centre to set up the CMB while also stressing for the closure of the Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin, against which the locals have been staging protests, citing health reasons.

7) The day-long fast observed by the AIADMK on Tuesday urging the Centre to immediately constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) "was farcical", Haasan told reporters here.

Won't call off protest until CMB is formed: Panneerselvam

Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Tuesday refused to call off protest until the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) is formed. "Till the time the Cauvery Management Board is not formed, our protest will not end. We will continue to protest till we get justice," Panneerselvam said.

Earlier in the day, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) began their hunger strike across Tamil Nadu to urge the Central government to form the CMB. Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Panneerselvam lead the strike against the Centre.

The main opposition party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (DMK), has also called for a strike on April 5.

8) 'Don't buckle under pressure of TN leaders on Cauvery board': Gowda

Former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda on Tuesday asked the Centre not to buckle under pressure from Tamil Nadu politicians to set up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB), saying the Supreme Court order needed to be studied in depth.

Gowda said political parties in Tamil Nadu had resorted to "intimidation" by staging a demonstration and in the past too, such tactics were adopted by leaders in that state.

9) Highlights of SC Cauvery river dispute verdict

* Karnataka to provide 177.25 TMC feet water to Tamil Nadu instead of 192 TMC feet
* No state can claim ownership over a river
* Karnataka to get an additional 14.75 TMC feet
* SC order on Cauvery water allocation will continue for the next 15 years.

10) History of Cauvery water dispute

Owing the geographic peculiarities of the State, Tamil Nadu has been dependent on water from the rivers in Karnataka and Kerala for a long time now. The dispute between Tamil Nadu and these two states also has a long history.

Differences between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on sharing of water in the Cauvery river, which is one of the main sources of water for irrigation in the agricultural lands of the Cauvery delta, have been in existence from the time of two agreements signed during the period of British government ruling the country.

Two agreements were signed between the then Madras Presidency and the State of Mysore, in 1892 and 1924. Karnataka claimed that the water allocated to it from the river was inadequate and that the agreements favoured the Madras Presidency. Tamil Nadu has time and again claimed that the irrigated land in the State has increased over a period of time and the entire region is dependent on the water from the river for agriculture and survival.

Tribunal's verdict in February 2007

A tribunal, constituted by the Government of India under the direction of the Supreme Court, came out with its final verdict in February, 2007, under which Tamil Nadu was entitled to get around 419 billion cubic feet of water, Karnataka, 270 billion cubic feet, Kerala, 30 bllion cubic feet and Puducherry was to get seven billion cubic feet of water, according to earlier reports.

However, the dispute continued after both the States filed petition with the tribunal to review the decision. 

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