Novel stir against river diversion

A team of 12 artistes from women SHGs sing paddadanas to mark protest

There were no slogans and lengthy speeches which are quite essential features of protests.

On a small stage erected in front of the deputy commissioner’s office, a team of women were seen beating drums and reciting paddadanas, drawing the attention of passerby.

Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya which has been raising voice against Yettinahole project, resorted to a novel way of protesting on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi. A team of 12 artistes drawn from women self-help groups in Bantwal and Mangalore taluks sang paddadanas to mark the protest under the banner “Sude maaruna maarilu” (evil forces that sell the river), on Thursday.

The protest began with a paddadana on saving environment which was relevant for the mood. The team led by Kutharu Thimmakka sang aloud, while another villager who was sitting by their side was preparing a traditional mat. 

Six earthen pots filled with water from river Nethravathi and a few words inscribed on it were placed in front of the stage. It read: “Mother Nethravathi is equivalent to God.

 Hurting Nethravathi is like insulting the God. Are you going to save Nethravathi or destroy her?” Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya Convener Dinesh Holla who has been leading the protests against Yettinahole project, said that the pots will be handed over to the MLAs and ministers from Dakshina Kannada district. 

The words written on the pots are asked to the elected representatives, and it is up to them to decide whether they wish to harm or protect Netravati, he said.

The protesters also demanded for the resignation of the elected representatives who have failed to take up the cause of river Nethravathi. 

“We have been doing our best to stop the project. The new concept of protest through paddadanas has been initiated as villagers are closely related to environment.

 All the artistes who are participating in the protest are well aware of the cause and we hope that they pass on the information to their fellow villagers,” he said.

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