50 pro-Kannada activists held in Bangalore

April 3rd, 2008 - 9:05 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Bangalore, April 3 (IANS) The Karnataka police cane charged and arrested 50 pro-Kannada activists in Bangalore Thursday when they attacked a cable network office to demand blocking of Tamil channels. This was part of the protest against Tamil Nadu’s plan to set up its drinking water supply project at Hogenekkal waterfall on the border of the two states.

“Some activists suffered minor injuries in the cane charge. Glass panes and some equipment of the Hathway network office on Kengal Hanumanthiah Road (in central business district) were damaged,” said a spokesperson of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) that organised the protest.

The police said it was a mild cane charge and only a handful suffered minor injuries. They also said there was no major damage to the cable office.

“Around 50 people have been arrested and cases will be filed against them,” a police spokesperson said.

The KRV and other pro-Kannada groups have been agitating for the last four days against Tamil Nadu’s plan and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s statement attacking them for opposing the project.

The groups are, however, divided over the planned Karnataka shut down. While some say it will be organised April 10, KRV and others say they will decide Friday.

The row over Hogennekal reached the Karnataka High Court too but it declined to entertain a petition seeking a direction to Tamil Nadu not to go ahead with the project.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph directed the petitioner, a resident of Chamarajnagar district bordering Tamil Nadu, to approach the state government and then come to the court as the matter was sensitive.

All activities in the Kannada film world will come to a standstill Friday as actors, producers, directors and technicians have decided to stage a day-long sit-in at Town Hall in the heart of the city to oppose the water project.

Karnataka cable operators are split over blocking Tamil channels, with many saying they will do so only if DTH (Direct to Home) service providers also stop the telecast of those channels.

However, all channels will be off the air April 10 in the event of the state shut down taking place, a spokesperson for the cable operators association told reporters Thursday.

Two senior Congress leaders, Union Minister of State for Planning M.V. Rajashekaran and former union minister B. Janardhanan Poojary, have written separate letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Central Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz seeking their intervention to stop Tamil Nadu from implementing the project.

The Rs.13 billion Japanese-funded project is to supply water to two districts in Tamil Nadu. Karantaka says the project will seriously affect its interests.

The picturesque Hogenekkal is the point at which Karnataka’s major river Cauvery enters Tamil Nadu. The sharing of Cauvery water has been a source of major rows between the two states and the issue is before a tribunal as well as the Supreme Court.

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