A 125 years old dispute, has set the state of Karnataka under the strong holds of section 144 of the CrPC. According to recent news, one person has died in police firing and 20 buses were burnt as a protest in Bangalore against the 5th September verdict of the Apex Court. The Apex court had modified its previous order according to which ,a reduced amount of 12000 cusecs were to be released by Karnataka till further order was made on the 20th of September.
The dispute originally dates back to 1892, where an agreement of arbitration was filed between the then Madras Presidency and Mysore. But this agreement led to fresh disputes between the two states (Karnataka and Tamil Nadu). In 1924 another agreement was made. Post independence a fact finding committee was set up and it submitted its report in 1972, with further more studies an agreement was drawn to which Tamil Nadu did not extend its consent. Under the Inter State Water Dispute Acts, 1976 a tribunal was formed in 1990 to take cognizance of this dispute. Both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu filed a review of the final order by this tribunal, which took 16 years of hearing the dispute. As Chairman of the Cauvery River Authority Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ordered Karnataka to release 9000 cusecs of water daily in 2012, which Karnataka failed to comply with.
Post the 5th September judgment sporadic violence and agitation has escalated leading to commotion and application of section 144 of the CrPC which empowers the District Magistrate, sub divisional Magistrate or the Executive Magistrate to pass order in urgent cases of nuisance and of apprehended danger. The Supreme Court judgment gave three days to Tamil Nadu to approach the supervisory committee and also three days were given to Karnataka to respond to Tamil Nadu’s plea.
A 125 years age old dispute, has now taken a form of a violent agitation costing lives, whether in police firing or farmer suicide or the pro Karnataka protesters. Question is whether this dispute will ever see the end of the tunnel?