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Karnataka Police booked 30 Congress leaders for violating Covid rules

Karnataka State Police has booked FIRs against 30 Congress leaders and workers including former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and state party chief D K Shivakumar for violating Covid 19 protocol. The party leaders began a walk for water march demanding the implementation of the Mekedatu drinking water project, legally challenged by Tamil Nadu. The march was taken out on Sunday when the weekend curfew was in place to contain Covid pandemic. Despite the police denying permission for the march, the Congress leaders went ahead with it flouting Covid-19 protocols and weekend curfew posing threat to the lives of people, the FIR stated.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday said that two different rules cannot be prescribed for the common man and political leaders while following Covid rules and advocated a uniform way of implementing the laws. He said that the positivity rate has risen to 6.8 percent in the state and 10 percent in Bengaluru. Karnataka is  in the third spot in terms of Covid numbers in the country. The Chief Minister said, gathering the crowd and organizing protests during the surge in Covid cases is not advisable.

DK Shivakumar, meanwhile, said: “Why only 30 people were booked, let the government book all those who participated in the march and put us in jail.”  Shivakumar refused to take the COVID-19 test and questioned why he was being asked to get tested if he did not have any symptoms. Speaking to reporters in Kanakapura, Shivakumar blamed the Basavaraj Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka and said that they 'made money off corpses'.He further claimed that the padayatra is scheduled for 10 days and nothing can stop him from participating in the same. He also dared the state home minister to arrest him for participating in the padayatra despite COVID-19 norms in force. Mallikarjun Kharge launched the Mekedatu march at Sangama in Ramanagara district, the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers on Sunday. The 179-km march from Mekedatu to Bengaluru is set to cover 15 assembly constituencies before culminating with a public meeting at the Basavanagudi grounds in the state capital on January 19.

The Rs 9,000-crore Mekedatu reservoir and drinking water project across the Cauvery river in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district plans to utilise 4.75 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water for drinking purposes in Bengaluru and neighbouring areas, besides generating 400 MW power. However, Tamil Nadu is opposed to it, saying that it would hamper the interests of the state and deprive its farmers of water for irrigation purposes.

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