Salem Radio Network News Sunday, December 10, 2023


India’s tech hub of Bengaluru braces for protests over water sharing

By VarunVyas Hebbalalu

BENGALURU, India (Reuters) – Police banned gatherings on Tuesday in India’s southern technology hub of Bengaluru, to deter violence by protesters who oppose the sharing of river waters with a neighbouring state, police officials said.

Farmers’ groups called the protest, which forced multinational companies such as Walmart and Alphabet’s Google to tell employees in the city to work from home, according to internal memos seen by Reuters.

“No large public gatherings” will be allowed, said a senior police officer, K. Santosh Babu, adding that emergency orders had been imposed.

Bengaluru hosts more than 3,500 tech companies and some 79 “tech parks” housing offices and entertainment zones for technology workers. Protests in the past have led to mob violence.

A farmer was injured at Freedom Park, one of the protest sites, a domestic news channel said on Tuesday, with others detained by police.

Schools and colleges were shut while public transport, except for metro rail services, stayed suspended in the city in India’s southern state of Karnataka.

The demonstrations are part of an agitation led by farmers and politicians from Karnataka and the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, locked for decades in a legal dispute over the sharing of water from the Cauvery river.

The Supreme Court recently ordered the Cauvery Water Management Authority to get Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs (142,000 litres) of water to Tamil Nadu for 15 days from September 13.

However, the government of Karnataka said it could not do that since it had to meet its own needs for drinking water and irrigation.

Tamil Nadu’s position is that the Cauvery is a shared resource and its farmers need the water for irrigation.

The river originates in the Karnataka region of Talakaveri before flowing through Tamil Nadu to meet the Bay of Bengal.

(Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


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