Mandya (Karnataka): At least 15 people were taken into custody for blocking roads at several places in this Cauvery heartland district protesting release of water to Tamil Nadu even as police stepped up security.
    
Fifteen people have been taken into custody for 'rasta roko', police said.
    
Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi, an outfit of farmers spearheading the stir, has given a call for Mandya district bandh on Saturday.
    
The Mandya district administration has declared schools and colleges holiday for two days from Friday.
    
Samithi President G Madegowda urged the Opposition Congress leader in the state Assembly Siddaramaiah to lead an agitation against the BJP government.
    
In another development, former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa demanded that Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar suspend the ongoing winter session of the Assembly in Belgaum and lead a delegation of all ministers and legislators and meet the Prime Minister on the water row.
    
He told reporters at Belgaum that he was ready to launch an agitation to protect the interest of farmers in the Cauvery basin.
    
Protests were also witnessed at Chamarajanagar, another Cauvery basin district.
    
Karnataka commenced release of 10,000 cusecs of water from last night to Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court directives.
    
In an interim order on Wednesday, the apex court had directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu, and asked the Cauvery Monitoring Committee to hold its meeting to decide the amount of water required by the states.
    
At the ongoing winter session at Belgaum, both Houses of the state legislature witnessed furore with opposition Congress and JDS hitting out at the government for "failure" to protect the farmers' interest.
    
Opposition Congress leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah demanded that government halt release of water.
    
Both Houses were adjourned till Monday in the wake of uproarious scenes.
    
Siddaramaiah sought Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar's resignation for not shielding Karnataka's interests.
    
He urged Speaker K G Boapaiah to instruct the government to stop release of water as it would destroy standing crops and lead to acute drinking water problem in the state.
    
Countering Siddaramaiah's remarks, Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa said the Congress governments in the past had also released water to Tamil Nadu on court directions.
    
Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa wanted MPs to resign en masse and sit in dharna in front of Parliament till the Centre comes to Karnataka's rescue.
    
If they had adopted this stance, the Prime Minister would have understood the extent of distress in the state, he said.

(Agencies)

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