Stir against Yettinahole: 83 held, let off

 As many as 83 agitators, including 16 women who had launched a fast unto death protest against the diversion of river Netravathi for Yettinahole drinking water project, outside the deputy commissioner’s office on Friday were arrested and released later here on Friday.

Those arrested include MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, Zilla Panchayat president Meenakshi Shanthigodu and vice-president Kasturi Panja, deputy mayor Sumitra Kariya, BJP district unit president Sanjeev Mathandoor, former MLC Monappa Bhandary, former minister Krishna J Palemar, former MLA N Yogish Bhat, Congress leader Harikrishna Bantwal and JD(S) leader Sundar Acharya.

The jurisdictional Mangaluru south police who had turned down the permission for fast unto death protest from February 10 to 16, citing some reasons, had however given permission for protest from 10 am to 2 pm on Friday. When there was no sign of the protesters calling it off even after 2.45 pm, the police had no option, but to arrest them. Though some among the agitators resisted, they were all packed off into waiting”police vans.

ACP (central sub-division) Udaya M Nayak told DH: ‘In all 83 protesters were arrested and let off. A case has been booked against them under section 71 of Karnataka Police Act.” 

Earlier, seer sri Charukeerti Bhattaraka of Jain Mutt, Moodbidri, Kemaru Mutt seer Sri Isha Vittala Dasa and Sri Gurudevananda of Odiyur mutt had one thing to say in common - to revoke the project, as it may affect drinking water supply in the region.

Seer Charukeerthi Bhattaraka explained that excess water is available in Dakshina Kannada district only between July and September. When this is the reality, it will be better to revoke the project to divert water from Netravathi, he said. The seer also clarified that they are not against providing drinking water to Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts (as the Yettinahole project is aimed at supply water to the two parched districts), but not without scientific study into the availability of water here.

MP warns DK bandh

Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel has warned of intensifying the anti-Yettinahole protest by calling for Dakshina Kannada bandh during the budget session of the state government. Kateel told DH over phone: “A delegation will be taken to Governor Vajubhai R Vala sooner to seek his intervention in the issue. A call wil be taken to decide over next course of action at the district-level, especially after we were forced to wind up the indefinite fast unto death protest call given on Friday.”

Seer Sri Rajashekharananda of Vajradehi Mutt, Gurupura, was also in the lead of the protest.

Former MLA K Vijaykumar Shetty who had formed Netravathi Samyukta Rakshana Samiti, under the banner of which the fast was launched, cannot make it to the agitation due to ill health.

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