Bangalore: Opposing the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, thousands of farmers and activists gathered near Cauvery and Kabini reservoirs in Karnataka to lay siege to them Wednesday.
Three Lok Sabha members -- two from the Congress and one from the Janata Dal-Secular -- joined the agitators who sought an immediate halt to the daily release of 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu that started late Saturday on the directives of the Supreme Court.
Karnataka is opposing the water release on the ground that the state is suffering from worst drought in 40 years.
The main protest was held at the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam built across the Cauvery river, about 150 km from Bangalore, and a small protest at Kabini dam, around 220 km from here, built across the Kabini river, a tributary of the Cauvery.
Congress MPs A.H. Vishwanath and R. Dhurvanarayana joined the agitators at Kabini dam while N. Cheluvarayaswamy of the Janata Dal-Secular was at the KRS dam.
Hundreds of policemen have been deployed at both dams. At the KRS, police are backed by Rapid Action Force (RAF) as water to Tamil Nadu is released mainly from this dam.
The agitators have defied the ban on any gathering of five or more people within one km radius of the KRS dam, imposed by district authorities late Tuesday.
Hundreds of activists led by popular Kannada actor and former Congress Lok Sabha member M.H. Ambareesh and many religious leaders left for the KRS from Bangalore Wednesday afternoon after a rally in the city.
Schools and colleges in Mandya district, where the KRS is located, were closed Wednesday as a precautionary measure on fear of disturbances.
Traffic movement between Bangalore and Mysore, 130 km away, was severely hit for the fourth day Wednesday as protestors blocked roads at several places.