Centre steps in as Cauvery protests escalate in Karnataka

PTI9_9_2016_000170B Section 144 has been imposed in the city as a preventive measure | PTI

As tension escalated in Karnataka over the Cauvery water dispute, the Union home ministry stepped in on Monday assuring central assistance to maintain law and order in the state. Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi spoke to Karnataka Chief Secretary Arvind Jadhav in this regard.

"I am in touch with the chief secretary of Karnataka and whatever help is required, will be provided," Mehrishi told reporters. Officials in the home ministry said that if tension escalated further, the central paramilitary forces and additional forces including the Rapid Action Force could be used to contain the civil unrest.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh also telephonically talked to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and enquired about the situation. Singh assured full central assistance to deal with the situation.

Reports said metro and bus services had to be suspended in Bengaluru after shops were vandalised and vehicles torched by pro-Kannada activists even as rumours were being spread by mischief mongers to incite civil unrest. Section 144 has been imposed in the city as a preventive measure.

The MHA was keeping a close watch on the situation and was in direct touch with the state government, sources said. They added that violence in both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu would be contained by the law enforcement agencies and that action would be taken by the state authorities against those inciting violence.

Even as the Centre is exploring ways to resolve the long pending water dispute, the protests escalated in both the states after the Supreme Court on September 5 directed Karnataka to release 15000 cusecs of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu everyday for the next ten days to meet the demands of the summer crop.

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Topics : #Cauvery issue

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