Bengaluru: Amidst tight security, police on Thursday foiled attempted rail blockades across southern Karnataka by angry mobs protesting against the state releasing the Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu.
“We have arrested about 100 pro-Kannada activists, including their leaders, in the city centre and stopped them from going to the main railway station for ‘rail roko’ (blockade),” said Bengaluru Additional Commissioner of Police K.S.R. Charan Reddy.
Among those arrested and whisked away one kilometre away from the station were Kannada Okkuta (federation) President Vatal Nagaraj, Kannada Rakshana Vedike (KRV) Convener Pravin Shetty and Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce President Sa Ra Govindu.
“The activists were taken into custody as the ban order under section 144 of CrPC against assembling of more than five persons in public places and populated areas has been extended till September 25 to maintain law and order,” asserted Reddy.
About 50 protesters, including farmers and traders were detained and whisked away at Mandya station, about 100 km from here, to prevent them from entering platforms to block trains between Bengaluru and Mysuru, 150 km away from here.
Earlier in the day, police thwarted KRV activists from holding up and delaying the Bangarapet-Bengaluru passenger at Kolar station, 70 km from here, after entering the platform and staging a protest against the state government and Tamil Nadu.
Similarly, about 50 activists were rounded up outside the Mysuru station to prevent them from barging onto the platforms, staging protests and blocking trains.
According to reports, several protesters at Shivamogga, Hubballi and Dharwad in the state’s central and northern regions, were taken into preventive custody and thwarted from stepping on rail tracks to block trains on the Bengaluru-Belagavi route.
Holding flags and raising slogans against Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments, the activists took out a protest rally to Mysore Bank circle from Town Hall in Bengaluru and tried to break the heavy security cordon to enter the main city station.
“About 13,000 police personnel, 11 companies of paramilitary forces and 30 platoons of City Armoured Force have been deployed across the city, including stations, city and inter-state bus terminals, city airport on outskirts, in sensitive areas, vital installations, markets and Tamil-dominant localities to ensure safety of the people and prevent damage to public property,” asserted Reddy.
In a related development, state Home Minister G. Parameshwara said the situation was under control and peaceful across the city and normality prevailed.
“Paramilitary forces, state and central reserve police forces will remain in the state until further orders, as the Cauvery row remains an issue with the people and the states,” Parameshwara told reporters here.