If you are a Kannadiga, you will definitely say “Yes” to the next two sentences. Hear the call for a total Karnataka Bandh, you are automatically reminded of two aspects. One is the issue will be related to sharing of water to Tamil Nadu, and the second will be that the protest will be done by Vatal Nagaraj. For the past two decades, it has been the same norm. Agreed, there are a few occasions when the issue changed, but more or less it is the same.
Why Was The Bandh Called?
You need to know the history.
It is the 765 km long river, Cauvery that has been the bone of contention for decades in four Indian States, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Kerala. Mother Kaveri or Kaveramma, as the river is fondly called and respected by every inhabitant of Karnataka originates in Talakaveri in Kodagu district. The graceful river flows through several districts of the mentioned States such as Mandya, Haasan, Erode, Thanjavur etc. You can also find the tributaries in Puducherry and Kerala.
The problems of sharing water have existed since the times of British Raj. To be precise, the year is 1892. The reason for the problem is the lack of water to be spent on irrigation on both sides of the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. For the residents of Bangalore, they get their share of water for various purposes directly from the river.
The tensions escalated when in the 1990s, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was formed and directed the amount of water to be released from Karnataka. But the result did not go well in Karnataka and the worst anti-Tamil riots erupted in many parts of the State.
It was in 1998, another body was formed, by name the CRA (Cauvery River Authority). The body was constituted to implement the order of the CWDT, that is making Karnataka release water to Tamil Nadu. The body consists of Prime Minister at the helm, and the Chief Ministers of the four States as the members. The final award, regarding the dispute, came in 2007.
The amount of water for each State was decided in the award. But the lack of clarity during a shortage of water is the main reason for the dispute to prolong further.
It was, in 2013, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha, sought the help of Supreme Court to form the Cauvery Management Board, but it was not a success.
Cut to the year 2017, the Supreme Court put aside the judgment based on the appeals from both States against the final verdict of the CWDT.
Recent News in April 2018
Karnataka has always opposed the formation of Cauvery Management Board. But in Tamil Nadu, the opposition parties called for a strike on April 5, to pressure the Centre for the set-up of Cauvery Management Board (CMB). Tamil Nadu alleges that since the election in Karnataka is on May 12, 2018, the Centre is delaying the decision.
On April 5, Tamil Nadu witnessed violence in many parts of the State because of the bandh by opposition political parties such as the DMK, TMMK etc. Even in Bangalore, the stage got set for another complete Karnataka bandh, under the leadership of Vatal Nagaraj, leader of Kannada Ookoota on April 12, 2018.
Why Was April 12, 2018, bandh called off?
The Center had to submit a draft on March 29. It was regarding a scheme for distribution of Cauvery river water to the two States. Since the Government has requested for time to the Apex Court until May 3, 2018, to submit the draft, the pro-Kannada organizations have postponed the strike.
Source: New Indian Express, First Post.
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