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HC dismisses PIL on Cauvery row

Statesman News Service |

The Madras High Court today dismissed a PIL seeking a direction to the Centre to protect Tamils in Karnataka and Kerala in the wake of recent attacks on them in both states over the Cauvery issue and alleged assault on PWD officials.

A division bench of the court’s Madurai bench comprising Justices S Nagamuthu Muralidharan, dismissed the PIL after the central government pleader Srimathy submitted that the Centre had already initiated steps and the situation in Karnataka was returning to normal and there was no problem in Kerala.

Petitioner KK Ramesh, who runs an NGO, said the safety of Tamils in both states had become an issue in the recent past.

"While Tamils and their business establishments in Karnataka were attacked recently, owing to the Cauvery water dispute, PWD officials from Tamil Nadu were attacked by the Kerala Police, when they had visited the Parambikulam Dam site in Kerala on September 12," he submitted.

"If such attacks continued then the integrity of the nation would be affected," the petitioner said and sought a direction to the Union government to take steps to protect Tamils in Kerala and Karnataka.

The Cauvery water sharing row had turned violent in Karnataka on September 12, claiming two lives, both in Bengaluru. While one person was killed in police firing, another succumbed to injuries he suffered while fleeing a police lathicharge as he jumped in panic from a three-storey building.

Widespread violence had erupted on September 12 in Bengaluru and some other parts of Karnataka, while sporadic trouble was witnessed in Tamil Nadu following the Supreme Court’s modified order on sharing Cauvery water by the two riparian states.

The apex court had modified its September 5 order and asked Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till September 20.

In its September 5 order, the apex court had directed the state to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water for 10 days to ameliorate the plight of farmers of the neighbouring state.

On September 12, a Tamil Nadu PWD officer and about 50 workers were reportedly prevented entry to the Parambikulam Project area in Kerala. When they protested, officials, led by District Forest Officer, had allegedly resorted to a lathicharge, resulting in injuries to four women.