K’taka defies SC, won’t release Cauvery water Uran scare: Navy calls off ops, but city still on alert
WHAT NEXT? Set for face-off with SC over refusal to share water with Tamil Nadu
Karnataka’s legislature on Friday refused to share Cauvery water with Tamil Nadu, potentially setting the state on a collision course with the Supreme Court days after violence rocked capital Bengaluru over the sensitive issue.
Both the legislative council and lower house adopted similar resolutions saying that the river water will be used only for meeting drinking needs of villages and towns in the Cauvery basin and Bengaluru.
The resolutions, however, did not mention the top court’s order directing the state to release 6,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) to Tamil Nadu till September 27.
The legislature’s decision came nearly two weeks after an earlier apex court order sparked large-scale violence in state capital Bengaluru where mobs targeted Tamil-speaking people and their properties. Sporadic violence has continued since then across the state, large parts of which are facing water shortage.
For chief minister Siddaramaiah, who gave an impassioned speech in the assembly, a face-off with the judiciary could prove costly given past instances of the state’s attempts to take on the top court on the more than century-old dispute.
In 1991, then chief minister S Bangarappa had tried to circumvent a Cauvery interim award through an ordinance. Later in 2002, another chief minister SM Krishna too had refused to release water to Tamil Nadu. The apex court struck down the ordinance and forced Krishna, who was in danger of being hauled for contempt of court, to comply with its order.
What makes the situation different now is that the entire state legislature has unanimously taken a stand against an apex court’s order, experts pointed out.
Legal experts quoted in various newspapers and television channels here have varying versions of what can happen — from tying the apex court’s hands in the matter to outright dismissal of the government and assembly.
Siddaramaiah, however, insisted that the resolution was not a defiance of the Supreme Court. “We have great respect for the judiciary. The intention is not to disobey the judicial order. We will not think of it even in our dreams,” he said during the assembly debate.
“People have given us a mandate. We cannot defy it… it would be a dereliction of duty on our part.”
The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu reacted sharply, saying the issue was being politicised by the Karnataka government “because they are going to face elections very soon”. “Cauvery belongs to us as well, not only to Karnataka. The water has to come to Tamil Nadu,” ANI quoted AIADMK leader CR Saraswathi as saying. The Cauvery water issue led to protests across Bangalore last week in which several buses were burnt.
Search operations in and around Mumbai and Uran continued on Friday, a day after two schoolchildren in Uran claimed to have seen armed men in the fishing town, sparking a security scare. The Indian Navy officially called off its search operations in the evening, while the police and coast guard continued their searches.
A senior home department official told Hindustan Times in the evening, “There has been no corroboration [of the alleged sightings] so far. The covert operations will continue.”
More than a thousand policemen searched hotels, homes and forests in and around Uran. The police and state reserve police force scoured the town and its surroundings but found no physical evidence of any intruders. However, Mumbai continued to be Security personnel during the combing operations in Uran on Friday. on high alert and heavy security remained in place at important points along the coast. Meanwhile, the schoolgirl who claimed to have seen the armed men stood by her statement on Friday.
The court order came on a petition challenging WhatsApp’s announcement in August that it would start sharing users’ account information such as phone number with parent company Facebook, marking a notable shift in its policy on privacy.
The two Delhi-based petitioners alleged that WhatsApp’s decision compromises the rights of its users.
Hearing the petitions, a bench headed by chief justice G Rohini directed the messaging service not to share any user data collected till September 25, 2016, with Facebook or any other related company.
The messaging app, which Facebook acquired in 2014, gave users a 30-day period to choose if they wanted to share information with the social network or opt out before the old policy expires on September 25.
The WhatsApp data will help Facebook push relevant advertisements and make friend recommendations. WhatsApp, which has more than 1 billion users worldwide, sought to reassure people that it won’t share user information with advertisers and doesn’t retain data on its servers once an account is deleted, not many were convinced.